Organizers of the much anticipated pro- federalism demonstrations in the Malawi’s northern border district of Karonga have postponed their scheduled demonstrations which were scheduled for Sunday to pave way for dialogue between them and government on various concerns affecting the region.
The development comes barely a week after government banned the protests, a decision, later challenged by the organizers who vowed to continue with the demonstrations despite the ban.
Announcing the cancellation of the demonstrations Saturday evening in Karonga, Chairperson of the Organizing committee who is also Executive Director for Karonga Youth for Justice and Development Steve Simsokwe, said the grouping has decided to change its decision for fear of creating an impression that it is challenging government on dialogue.
“We have called off the demonstrations because we feel government may think we are challenging it since it turned down our notification letter last week. Again, we want to pave way for dialogue which is being advocated for by the Presidential Advisor of National Unity and Parliamentary Affairs, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, so that together we address our concerns amicably”, said Simsokwe in an an exclusive interview with the Nyasa Times.
He also pointed out resistance by the police to offer security during the demonstrations as another factor that has prompted them to rescind the decision.
“We have fears that some people will take advantage of the absence of law enforcers to attack people and loot shops, and the police will definitely arrest us as ring leaders and accuse us for inciting violence as it has been a trend in the previous demonstrations,” he added.
The grouping wanted the protest to influence government to adopt the widely campaigned federal system of government to ensure that the country’s three regions control themselves their resources, abolish quota system and upgrade the district town to a municipality.
However, Karonga District Commissioner, Rosemary Moyo and the police turned down a notification letter by the organizers on claims that the issues raised were already expressed in previous forums, and that government has shown interest to address them.
Presidential Adviser on National Unity and Parliamentary Affairs, Vuwa Kaunda recently advised the youth in the District to raise their concerns through dialogue with government rather than rushing for demonstrations which he said have never improved things in the country apart from bringing chaos.
However, Simsokwe says they have now opted for Kaunda’s idea because it is constructive, but challenged to call for demonstrations if the talks between the two would fail to meet their demands.
“We are convinced with the Presidential Advisor’s decision, and we are now looking forward to the government as to when it will engage us for a dialogue, at the same time we are very optimistic that the government will understand our concerns and address them in a constructive manner,” he said.
Commenting on the development, Kaunda challenged to facilitate a dialogue between the President and the concerned group to ensure that their concerns are heard peacefully.
“I am very excited with the decision made by the grouping to cancel the demonstrations and prioritize dialogue, this clearly indicates that we are really one Malawian, and will ensure that I do everything possible to initiate dialogue with the President so they can have their issues addressed”, said Kaunda.
In their remarks, Paramount Chief Kyungu and the District Commissioner also expressed gratitude over the grouping’s decision, saying it is an indication of maturity among the organisers.
“As chiefs we don’t condone demonstrations because they are destructive to the community we are living, and retards development hence I have always emphasizing that we are ‘better together’”, said Kyungu.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :