Malawi CSOs threaten civil disobedience: Demo in BT only as Law Society president backs

Civil society organisations (CSOs), under the Grand Coalition for the Defence of Democracy and Good Governance, have announced that they will stage protests Thursday February 27 in the commercial capital Blantyre only to mark the start of a civil disobedience campaign against the Joyce Banda government.

The activist want to pressurize government to among others disclose the way funds realized from the sale of the presidential jet were used and to press for quick action after an audit revealed officials had stolen at least MK13 billion from the state.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the activist called on “Malawians affected and concerned by the contemporary economic and political governance challenges” to gather tomorrow at Kanjeza Primary school ground at 9 am, the 27th of February 2014.

“From this ground we will peacefully march to Blantyre City Assembly offices- Civic Centre through the Kenyatta drive to deliver our statement of ultimatums to the District Commissioner of Blantyre who will deliver this to the office of president and cabinet,” said the organisers.

Voice Mhone:  Its  a movement against looting of public resources
Voice Mhone: Its a movement against looting of public resources

Chairman of the activists, Voice Mhone said in the statement that the marching Thursday will be launching of “a series of civil disobedience processes” to be rolled over nationwide.

The statement added: “We should realize it is our responsibility to peacefully and rightfully demand the fulfillment of our socio-economic and political rights.”

The protestors would also seek answers from the authorities over the whereabouts of more than 30,000 tonnes of maize removed from National Grain Reserves that was said to be damaged or rotten.

But government has accused the West of sowing chaos by supporting the activists in a bid to push for regime change agenda.

“We understand there are two financiers, one from amongst us in government and another one from the diplomatic community,” said Mpinganjira adding the said envoys come from countries that also financed demonstrations that destroyed countries like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

Ironically, Joyce Banda administration cites the restoration of cordial relationship between Lilongwe and western countries as one of its achievements.

During late Bingu Wa Mutharika regime, the country’s relationship with Western donors became sour after the British envoy was expelled from the country.

Amid calls for Banda to resign, spokesman of the demonstrations Lucky Mbewe said the civil society activists believed that “government owes Malawians explanation in these matters.”

Meanwhile, Malawi Law Society president Mandala Mambulasa took to Facebook to back the peaceful protests.

“We are in support of the forthcoming public demonstrations. It is our constitutional right Malawians to do so.

“This regime is taking us too much for granted. Public services and goods are collapsing in our very eyes due to inadequate funding to government ministries and agencies, and yet the President is spending our money everyday on useless campaign trails across the country,” said the statement reads.

Mambula said the Banda government is ruling by “lies and deception.”

He said: “ They are insensitive to our plight. They continue to spend our money on things that we are not aware about without supporting documents. May be public demonstrations is the only language they will understand. We have advised, guided and engaged them and nothing seems to be changing for the better.

“We urge all our members and those of the public to come out in large numbers and participate in our God given right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully and unarmed.

“Malawi is our country. It is not only for politicians and the ruling elite. They must account to us the people where the proceeds for the jet went, they must show us the records for the same.”

The protesters plan to hand a petition to government officials, who will forward it to the president, who is away for a summit in Nigeria.

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