Malawi’s renowned civil society groups, faith groups, and individual human rights and governance defenders have announced 27 April 2018 as the day when all Malawians will demonstrate across the country against the way the government has handled the yet to be disbursed K4 billion funding to constituencies and other governance issues.
In a statement signed by activists Timothy Mtambo, Billy Mayaya, Gift Trapence, Robert Phiri, George Chiusiwa, Thokozani Mapemba, Macdonald Sembereka, Happy Mhango, Charles Kajolobeka, and Makhumbo Mkanavimbundi Munthali, the CSOs argue that “the decision to proceed with the demonstrations follows the inconsistencies, illegality and a cloud of suspicions that has characterised the entire process of the infamous K4 Billion scandal.”
Presidential adviser on Non-Governmental Organisationn said despite explainationd from Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe on the reasonability of the K4bn, the CSOs have chosen “politically motivated” demonstrations.
He said the CSOS have right to “demonstrate just about anything.”
Capital Hill has maintained that the K4 billion funding is a ‘Quick Grant Project’ meant for rural development.
Th CSOs argue that the way funding is raising serious governance and accountability questions such as: “Should the public still trust a ‘crooked and thieving’ government? Should Malawians continue to be taken for granted? Is the tax payers’ money safe in the hands of a crooked and thievinggovernment?”
Reads part of the statement: “It is against this background, and of course, the continued impunity of the Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC); the betrayal of public trust through a politically and corruption infiltrated systematic rejection of electoral reforms; the continued electricity blackouts, the continued poor service delivery in public institutions, the poor conditions of service for public servants and the high youth unemployment levels to mention but a few that we announce these nationwide demonstrations on 27th April 2018.
”These demonstrations will provide Malawians the platform to air out their discontent on the high level of corruption and impunity that has characterised the above issues in the process contributing to the loss of public trust in their government.”
The theme of these nationwide demonstrations, according the CSOs, is: “For how long shall Malawians continue to be taken for granted? Loss of public trust in current Administration: Time to reclaim our Destiny”.
The organizers said: “The theme is based on the following: Section 12 (c) of the Malawi Constitution: ‘The authority to exercise power of State is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only be maintained through open, accountable, and transparent Government and informed democratic choice’ and Isaiah 1:23 of the Bible: Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless [the voiceless, poor, powerless]”, reads the statement dated 20th March 2018.
Amongst the key demands included in the statement include the resignation or firing of Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Local Government Hon. Kondwani over their role in the K4 Billion scandal; the complete cancellation of the K4 Billion “suspicious and illegal fund”; ACB to investigate allegations of state-sponsered corruption where government is alleged to have bribed some members of Parliament from the opposition side of Parliament to frustrate the electoral reforms Bill through rejection, abstaining or absenteeism; the retabling and approval of electoral reforms Bills including the Law Commission’s proposed 50%+1 system of electing the President; and also finding a lasting solution to the continued electricity blackouts.
The key organisations that have endorsed the CSOs statement include the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Development of People (Cedep), Youth and Society (YAS), Citizens Forum for the Defence of Good Governance, Civil Society Network Transparency and Accountability Child Rights Information and Documentation (CRIDOC), Knowledge of the Laws of the Land (KNOLL), AND Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF).
Meanwhile, the Civil Society organisations have announced that they have organized a series of activites which shall require public participation in the build up to the 27th April 2018 demonstrations.
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