CSOs snub dialogue without President, set for anti-govt protests Friday

The civil society organisations (CSOs) who are planning anti-government nationwide protests on Wednesday stayed away from a dialogue meeting initiated by government because President Peter Mutharika and some of his Cabinet ministers were not attending.

On the front line chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF) chairperson Timothy Mtambo and other rights defenders Gift Trapence and others set for demo this Friday

Government courted the CSOs to a dialogue meeting on outstanding issues but the activists gave condition that will only attend the meeting at Capital Hill if President Peter Mutharika or relevant line ministers commit to be in the meeting.

After government said President Mutharika will not be in attendance and some key ministers like Justice, and Finance will be no show, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) pulled out of the talks.

Minister of Information and government spokesman Nicholous Dausi said government has assembled a high-level delegation of technocrats for the dialogue process.

“We invited them in good faith. If they are really standing for the good of the people, they should have put Malawi first. This government under Professor Arthur peter Mutharika is committed to contact and dialogue,” said Dausi.

But HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence said they are proceeding with the protests because their demands were not met.

“The government has not met conditions that we gave them,” said Trapence.

He pointed out that dialogue has never worked with DPP.

“It is a party that is unapologetic and does not care about Malawians. CSOs have had dialogue in the past that has yielded no results. For example, after [July 20] 2011 demos, there was a dialogue that was constituted to engage the government, but nothing yield results,” he said,

Trapence said dialogue has to be in keeping with the nature of issues and concerns at hand. “Malawians will speak on the streets with peaceful protests,” he added.

Governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali said he is not surprised that the said dialogue did not take place.

“Even if it were to okay certainly it wouldn’t yield any tangible results in the best interest of Malawians. It was clear from the very onset that the ultimate objective of government’s eleventh hour call for dialogue with CSOs was not to address the issues being raised by CSOs but rather to distract CSOs from holding their demos,” he observed.

Munthali said the timing of the dialogue was faulty “mindful of the fact that the issues raised by CSOs were in the public domain for some time.”

He said: “One wonders why it had to take government to initiate dialogue just 2 or 3 days before CSOs demos. Any serious dialogue requires both parties to give each other ample time for preparations and also agree on the rules of the game. All this requires time. You don’t just wake up and say we want to dialogue tomorrow on matters of public interest.”

CSOs are planning to hold anti-government protests on Friday which the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and Vice-President Saulos Chilima have endorsed.

The demonstrations, whose theme is Restoring Our Destiny, are a follow-up to HRDC’s April 27 10-point petition against poor governance which the group claims government did not fully address.

Among issues to be raised in the demonstrations are government’s failure to address worsening corruption in the country and theft of fuel worth K 1.9 billion at Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom).

They will also demand the resignation of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba, and immediate suspension of the contract for the supply of gensets.

The HRDC cancelled the protests from September 7 2018 to September 21 to avoid clashes with governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youth cadets who were expected to hold what they called a Blue March in Blantyre on the same day, but did not eventually do it.

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Mesimadzi
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Mesimadzi

Abale aliyense azingokomana ndi president? Aloleni anthuwa akakomane ndi Bwana Chakwera kuti akakambilane za nyumba ya K800 million ya Ku maulà ndi za kubedwa Kwa madzi a LL water board ndi a kongilesi.

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

Of course this a message from the govt that it doesn’t care for CSOs noise and demos. In any case demos have never been effective in getting the govt to listen. Now that we know that for sure as demonstrated by the snubbing; what else are you (SCOs) going to do to get the govt on its knees and probably force the UNGA entourage to fly back over the weekend. Hit them where it hurts the most without causing any violence.

Morgan
Guest

Wadada mtambo ine nkhusapota DPP yayi but ma demonstration APA yakuvwira yayi. A Dada Goodall dialogue njiwemi kweni iyi ikuwa APA nja ukhuluku. Mbuwemi tipange vinthu pa kwelo. Para takulilana mitima chalk chendenge yayi. Tose ndise ndise WA malawi

Samuel
Guest
Samuel

Empty tins

chataika
Guest
chataika

Let them go to the streets that’s what was already in their minds. They shunned the discussions so lets see if the streets will give them answers to their concerns, that’s childish thinking anyway. Inu nomwe mwakhala mukuti govt does not allow discussions and yet you are shunning what do u mean? You say you want the president or some CEOs for the parastetals like escom for what? Senior govt officials delegated by govt have already corrected answers from them in line with your concerns raised in the paper. So whats the meaning of representation? Bwanji ife tonse a Malawi… Read more »

Achebatiki
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Achebatiki

mawa achimwene. zoona zokhazokha mwanenazi. ndipo makwalalamu sitimaona, yet akuti akuimira ife. akudzimira okha amenewa.
has cso become more powerful than president himself that he can be controlling the govt issues and president as well? no no no

Naphi
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Naphi

Tiye nazoni

Yaya
Guest
Yaya

CSOs just shut up. We will sort our country ourselves on 21st May 2019. Mwatikwana heavy. All the noise you are making is just to get chibanzi from government.

Bingu wa Mutharika
Guest
Bingu wa Mutharika

This Tumbuka cult eish! let them go to the street, akabwerako adzatiuza

Duli
Guest
Duli

Timothy Mtambo ndi anzako m’mitu muli mamina thooo m’malo mwa bongo.

Ndaonavino
Guest
Ndaonavino

Brave Muntharika and Government officials! leave these useless CSO and concentrate on development. Awa akapya amathamangira pa nseu kuti abale nzungu basi. Anyaa aona APM driving until 2024.

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