Malawi ex-MYP ‘soldiers’ plan demonstration

It never rains but pours for President Joyce Banda’s administration. Over the past few months, her regime has been rocked with a number of strikes and threats of more industrial actions.

Workers from both public and private sector have been demanding salary hikes, some unrealistic, all attributed to how cruel life has become since she took the decision to devalue the local currency by almost half.

And the latest threat is coming from perhaps an unpredicted group of Malawians that is set to camp at the heart of government business- Capital Hill and outside Office of the President and Cabinet in particular.

This is a group of former Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) officers who claim were illegally dismissed some 18 years ago by the first democratic administration of Bakili Muluzi under the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Malawi Young Pioneers - July 21, 1968. Photo credit Flicker

The ex-employees said they have waited enough for their compensation for the unlawful dismissals and now the demonstration is their last resort, according to their leader Grey Chibaya Chisale.

A crowd of about 5000 is set to camp at the OPC in Lilongwe next Monday in what they are calling a peaceful demonstration to force government to pay them their dues.

“We have waited for long and we are now tired,” Chisale, who is the national coordinator of the former MYP employees, said Tuesday.

“We have been holding meetings with government representatives but all we have been getting are promises,” claimed Chisale.

The coordinator said during the last meeting with government representatives, Chief Secretary to the OPC promised them that they would get their dues immediately the 2012/2013 national budget was approved.

“We waited for the budget passing in July, it’s now over two months but there is nothing coming forward from them,” whined Chisale.  “We now have no choice but to demonstrate may be our voices will be heard.”

He said communication has been sent to all those who served in the defunct paramilitary wing of the then ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to meet in Lilongwe on Sunday in readiness for the Monday, September 17, nonviolent demo.

Chisale indicated that the Office of the President and Cabinet, Police, Lilongwe City Council Chief Executive Officer and the District Commissioner have all been made aware of their impending gathering.

The Malawi Young Pioneers was dissolved in 1994 by the Muluzi administration which understood the grouping as more of an instrument for oppression than a tool for development agenda.

Thousands of its ex-officers are scattered across the country while some managed to find employment many of them have remained jobless up to date.

A few weeks ago, a youth leader of the ruling Peoples’ Party (PP) urged the country’s leadership to consider resetting the MYP as it helped the youth in taking part in the country’s socio-economic development through their technical skills.

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