Malawi activist calls for ‘occupy parliament’ protests

Social and political activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire has organised a movement to move into the National Assembly to protests against government and MPs “to work with the people and not against them.”

Chiza Mkandawire a student of political science at Huddersfield University in UK and a member of Malawi Diaspora Forum told Nyasa Times that Occupy Parliament Malawi (OPM) “is a social movement in line with the current global phenomenon of the Occupy Socialist ideology.”

He proposes that the week starting from the November 28, be the beginning of protests in Malawi by occupying the space outside the National Assembly in the capital, Lilongwe.

Chiza Mkandawire and academic freedom champions Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula

The activist who was arrested recently with four others  for holding a placard in Lilongwe which said President Bingu wa Mutharika is a dictator, said the government should not underestimate “the effectiveness of citizen engagement.”

“The idea is to organise new forms of action against MPs, government officials and the failure by government to address the current economic and governance woes,” said Chiza Mkandawire.

The activist pointed out the need for Malawi citizens to challenge the dictatorship and become active in society’s decision-making process, especially at times when the normal channels for their political participation are ineffective.

Chiza Mkandawire said the “occupy parliament” movement will be demanding Malawians to peacefully exert their discontent and demand change from Mutharika administration.

Among issues the movement  will be protesting is the recommendation to raise salaries of the members of parliament and the enactment of repressive laws such as the Police Law, Media ban law and the Injunctions  law.

He also posted on his Twitter account that: “Occupy Parliament Movement in Malawi will raise issues regarding, youth unemployment, we need jobs, skills, further education.”

Chiza Mkandawire also tweeted that he admires Egyptian people who “assert their will over their leaders “through occupy Tahir Square that led to the ousting of Hosni Mubarak from power.

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