The civil society organisations (CSOs) and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) student community have added weight to the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) nationwide demonstrations by declaring that they will participate in the December 13 marches.
The CSOs and Mzuni student community have since called on their constituents to come out in large numbers and participate in the demonstrations which are, among others, aimed at pushing for the enactment of the Electoral Reforms Bills, including the 50+1 provision for electing the President.
Mzuni Students Representative Council (Musrec) president Wazamazama Katatu also said the fight PAC is embarking on is not against government or stepping stone for opposition political parties but an action that will help promote good governance.
He said changing the country needs a “collective responsibility” and there is need for students to participate.
Katatu said institutions of higher learning need to take a leading role in changing the landscape of democracy.
The CSOs represented by the remaining credible groups Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for the Development of the People (Cedep) and Youth and Society (YAS) at a news conference said the December 13 protests is an opportunity for every citizen to demonstrate their patriotism and demand a transformative and responsive leadership that the country needs at the moment.
They called on Malawians to stand up and fight for their right to have a free, just and credible electoral system in the country.
CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo described the country as being in a crisis as it lacks transformative leadership.
He commended PAC for bringing in a number of governance issues in the theme for the demonstrations.
“The electoral process is not for a political party, but a tenet for democracy. We are pushing for it because we believe it will serve the interests of Malawians better. Let the leadership commit to Malawians by passing these Bills,” said Mtambo.
CSOs and Mzuni join faith groups that have already rallied their flock to participate in the nationwide demonstrations.
These faith groups are, the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) comprising six Christian organisations affiliated to PAC, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi, CCAP Nkhoma Synod and the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC).
On Sunday, during the 9.30am Mass at St Patrick’s Parish in Area 18 in Lilongwe, Vice-President Saulos Chilima read out a letter from Catholic bishops asking their flock to take part in the nationwide protest marches.
When thousands of Malawians took to the streets in July 2011 calling for political and economic reforms, the government — led by Bingu wa Mutharika, the current president’s brother — responded with repression. Police used excessive force, leaving at least 20 dead and hundreds more injured or arrested.
PAC have assured the December 13 protests will be peaceful.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :