The civil society organisations (CSOs) who presented their petition to the President, are calling for the Head of State to address daily rationing of electricity and lengthy “outages” within 85 days.
Anger has been boiling over continued electricity blackouts for the 10% of Malawian households that are connected to the grid and are supplied by the state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) or the private Electricity Generation Company (Egenco).
New back-up diesel generators which were to improve the situation this year but Malawi continues to experience power cuts.
“Malawi is a nation in darkness. We are tired of blackouts and gensets excuses. We give you, Your Excellency Sir, 85 days to address the electricity blackouts problem,” reads the petition.
No electricity means no development and there is a strong link between human development and per capita electricity consumption, say researchers. Malawi has one of the world’s lowest electricity consumption levels and its human development index, of 0.418, is far below even the sub-Saharan regional average, ranking 170 out of 187 countries in the world
In the petition, the CSOs also accused President Peter Mutharika’s administration of favouring his Lhomwe tribe.
They decried that all key positions in government are being held by people from the Lhomwe Belt—where Mutharika also comes from.
CSOs said they are “saddened” that the country is divided along tribal, ethnic and regional lines which has often been fueled by the tendency of running the country as an “ethnic project” as evidenced by the ‘Lomwelisation of national cake’ rather than a transformative project whose benefits trickle down to all Malawians irrespective of tribe or region.
Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Nicholas Dausi, said there is no grain of truth in what the CSO activists have alleged.
Among other issues, the marchers were pushing for the reversal of Rodney Jose’s appointment as acting Inspector General of Police within 10 days and for government to cancel the planned disbursement of the controversial K4 billion funds to MPs.
They have also demanded that the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa should resign or get fired by President within 20 days over their dubious role in the K4 Billion payout .
The petition also demand the re-tabling and enactment of the all the elections related bills including 50%+1 electoral system of electing the President in their original form as proposed by the Law Commission within 40 days.
“We demand these elections related laws including the 50%+1 to be enacted in their original form as proposed by the Malawi Law Commission.”
The CSOs say they have a clear monitoring and evaluation framework to track the implementation of the 10 demands and other raised concerns .
“At the expiry of each timeline of the 10 demands, the activists, concerned citizens and Malawians of good will shall convene to evaluate your progress on implementation of the demands and concerns, and in cases where you have not done so, the grouping shall resolve to implementing Plan B on each of the timelines to ensure that all the demands are addressed.
“You can be lest assured therefore Your Excellency Sir that the Citizens shall hold a series of post-April 27 demonstrations activities –if you decide to ignore the 10 demands petition- until all the issues are addressed,” reads the petition seen by Nyasa Times.
The CSOs said at the expiry of 90 days, they shall reconvene to evaluate the Presudent’d performance in relation to addressing their concerns and demands as well as the general state of governance in the country.
“In the event that we find your leadership lacking, untrustworthy and incompetent in addressing these challenges and demands, we the concerned citizens, activists and all Malawiansof goodwill shall have no choice but to ask you to immediately step down as President of Malawi in line with the principle of social contract as ably expounded in the Constitution (Section 12[c]),” the CSOs have asserted.
The CSOs said they believe that their petition will be given the attention, priority it deserves and that “this time around we will not take excuses for answers but solutions to our demands.”
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