Scores of Malawians are roaming back and forth at Khonjeni Turnoff in Thyolo – the supposed starting point for a peaceful demonstration by the landless people in the district – as the leadership of Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is at the High Court in Blantyre seeking clearance for the protest.
CDEDI organized another round of peaceful protests to force the government to address the grievances of the people of Thyolo and Mulanje over the long-standing issue.
In Thyolo, the demonstrators were scheduled to start their peaceful demonstration from Khonjeni turnoff to the council offices; while in Mulanje, the protests will start from Nkhonya via Chitakale, to the council offices, where petitions will be delivered.
However, this was never to be for the people of Thyolo because their District Commissioner (DC), Douglas Moffat, refused to grant them permission to go-ahead with their planned march today.
Moffat is preventing the protest under the pretext that today’s demonstration is unnecessary because people in Thyolo already conducted theirs and that a petition on the same land concerns was delivered to the council on June 10, 2021.
The matter is reportedly in court.
But this has not gone down well with CDEDI executive director, Sylvester Namiwa, who has accused the DC of overstepping his authority by gagging the human and people’s rights to peaceful protest.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa, in a telephone interview a short while ago, bitterly complained that the DC is manufacturing tricks and excuses to prevent the demonstrators from presenting their concerns to the authorities.
“What Mr. Moffat is doing is against the principles of democracy. But we will try all our best to ensure that the human and people’s rights are respected and upheld,” said Namiwa in a brief interview.