Civil society organisations (CSOs) that organised the April 27 nationwide protests and petitioned President Peter Mutharika and his administration on governance shortcomings have said they will hold another anti-government protests over a “lukewarm response” to the 10-point petition with a 90 days ultimatum.
In an open letter adddessed to the Head of State, the CSOs have expressed disappointment that Mutharika has not acknowledged receipt of their petition and accuse the President of lacking political will and seriousness to address the concerns raised in the petition with some of the demands required a response within 10 days after submission of the petition and have passed their time frame.
The CSOs say the letter serves as a reminder to address all outstanding national issues, threatening another round of mass protests.
“We interpret this as lack of political will from your office to address important issues raised by the citizens of this country,” says the CSOs.
Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani denied that there is inaction from the President, saying he appointed a special Committee headed by Chief Secretary Lloyd Muhara and that the CSOs should follow up the issues with Muhara.
But the CSOs say they are surprised because they expected to receive an official communication from the President about the said committee and its clear terms of reference.
Gift Trapence, who is executive director of Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), said Mutharika should respond to the grievances not Muhara.
“Our expectation was that upon Your Excellency’s return from overseas, your office should have officially communicated receipt of the said petition and responded to the demands within it accordingly,” reads part of the letter signed by Trapence and Timothy Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR).
In the letter, the the CSOs are claiming that Muthariks is unwilling to be held accountable by the citizenry on issues raised in the p petition in which they are demanding cancellation on the appointment of Rodney Jose as acting Inspector General of Police as well as taking back the Electoral Reforms Bill to Parliament for re-tabling.
The CSOs want Cabinet ministers Goodal Gondwe (Finance, Economic Planning and Development) and Kondwani Nankhumwa (Local Government and Rural Development), to voluntarily step down or the President should fire them for their roles in the K4 billion financial transaction and an annulment of the entire arrangement. The two ministers have insisted they did nothing wrong.
CSOs have demanded an update on the cases on the murder of Issa Njaunju and Robert Chasowa.
They also press on issues such as deterioration of basic services like blackouts, high rate of unemployment and the general decay of the state of governance.
Among the CSOs that endorsed the demos and the petition are Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Cedep, Youth and Society (YAS), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Citizens Forum for the Defense of Good Governance and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR).