The civil society organisations (CSOs) that have planned April 27 demonstrations against the K4 billion budget allocation to legislators and other social issues such as state of governance and persistent electricity blackouts are defiant that they are prepared to hold vigils until President Peter Mutharika or Vice-President Saulos Chilima should
receive a petition in person – setting the stage for a brutal fight with government.
Mtambo: We will not deliver our 10 demands petition to middleman
The Presidency has rebuffed a request from CSOs and said the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) would designate someone to receive the petition.
But in a letter to Chief Secretary to government, Lloyd Muhara, the CSOs led by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo, said The nature of the issues contained in the “10 demands petition” which require the “chief political executive” of the political arm of the public service and also in line with the Human Rights Based Approach to Development’s Duty bearer-Rights Holder relations, and the principle of social contract, they shall submit the petition addressed to the Head of State and Government – The Presidency- through either the President or Vice President in person at the Office of the President and Cabinet at the
Capital Hill in Lilongwe between 9:00am and 11:00am.
“Mindful of the executive attempts to frustrate these peaceful demonstrations despite the cooperation of the organisers with relevant authorities to ensure a peaceful demonstration, we will not at any cost accept anyone besides the Presidency (The President or Vice President) to receive our petition even if it means conducting vigils for days at your office until either of the two receives our petition in person,” reads the letter as seen by Nyasa Times.
“We would like to put it clear that the issues being raised by citizens are meant and addressed to the Central Government. The only reason we will present the petition to the local governments authorities in the other districts and cities is that those are the only highest offices representing the central government at that level,” it continued.
The CSOs are defiant that theywill not accept any form of “middle man” in Lilongwe which has the presence of the highest office of the central government.
“We say no to any form of middle men to Central government and the leadership,” the organisers of the protests said.
Mtambo said they have previously delivered many petitions through other channels to Mutharika, but they have not seen any change; hence, the decision to deliver the petition direct to the President.
He insisted that there was nothing wrong with the CSOs and the citizens demanding that President Mutharika or his deputy Chilima should receive the petition.
Said Mtambo: “We are very determined to conduct the peaceful demonstrations and present the petition to the presidency. ”
The CSOs are demanding cancellation of disbursement of the K4 billion and the resignation of Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Kondwani Nankhumwa (Minister for Local Government and Rural Development) over their roles in the scam.
They argue that the K4 billion allocation is illegal and not in the best interest of Malawians; hence, the need to immediately cancel it.
The demonstrations, which the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and opposition political parties are supporting, will be held under the theme For How Long Shall Malawians Continue To Be Taken for Granted? Loss of Public Trust in the Current Administration: Time to Reclaim Our Destiny .
The demonstrations are also being supported, among others, by the quasi-religious Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and 10 opposition political parties that include the country’s former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha as president for Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD), presidents for People’s Progressive Movement (PPM)Mark Katsonga Phiri, Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde) George Nnensa, United Transformation Party (UTP) Newton Kambala and People’s Transformation Party (Petra) Kamuzu Chibambo.
The political parties, which also include Republican Party, United Independent Party, New Labour Party, National Unity Party and Malawi Democratic Party, say the culture of impunity that has dominated the Malawi political space for many decades, must be stopped now
In Lilongwe, where they expected the Presidency to receive their petition, the CSOs plan to march from Chisomo Private Secondary School in Mchesi, via Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) Roundabout, through Lingadzi Roundabout via Parliament Building to Capital Hill.
In Blantyre, CSOs will protest from the Upper Stadium via Chipembere Highway to the civic offices, while in Mzuzu, they expect to march from Katoto via Mzuzu Clock Tower via High Court Round-about to civic offices.
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