Malawi NGOs say August 17 ‘red army’ demos on

By Peter Makossah, Nyasa Times

The Civil Society organisations in Malawi says the follow-up  August 17 mass protests premised on poor governance,  disrespect of the rule of law, abuse of power, corruption dwindling economic situation and political intolerance among others will go ahead because President  Bingu wa Mutharika and his government have failed to address the concerns of the people.

Meeting in Lilongwe Wednesday August 10, the Civil Society organisation endorsed that they will go back to the streets to demonstrate against Mutharika’s government over the raised issues as earlier planned under the same banner a ‘Better Malawi is possible: It begins with you.’

A statement signed by the spokesperson of the organising committee of the protests Robert Mkwezalamba ,who is also Secretary General Malawi Congress of Trade Unions , made available to Nyasa Times, is advising the Malawian people to get themselves organised for a yet another nationwide peaceful demonstrations.

Red army: Bak in the streets on August 17

“Following the failure by the Malawi government to address the concerns raised by Malawians through the Civil Society grouping as presented on 20th July, 2011, we write to inform your various organisations and entities that the follow up demonstrations for 17thAugust have finally been endorsed at a meeting today the 10th August 2011 in Lilongwe,” reads in part the statement.

According the Civil Society the forthcoming mass protests just like the previous one which was held on July 20 and claimed 19 lives who were shot by the trigger-happy Malawi police officers will also use the colour red.

“Following this development, we write to inform your respective organisations to continue mobilizing communities, its members, the media, resources (red materials) and other necessary materials for the event to be colourful and effective,” Further reads the statement.

The protests organisers is therefore asking Malawians  in all regions and districts to converge in one place and conduct themselves peacefully while waiting responses from the Head of State and Government in particular for an initial 48 hours subject to extension depending on availability of response or not.

Nyasa Times has established that in Southern region the protests organisers will light candles and wait for the responses around the Victoria avenue from 8:00 hours on the 17th of August while in Central Region  people will congregate at Kamuzu Statute next to area 18A filling station.

But the civil society says it will come up with a list of venues for all the regions in the country through a statement which is expected to be released by13:00 hours Thursday 11th August 2011.

Malawians through the Civil Society organisations are demanding that President Mutharika adopt measures and actions to ensure availability of and access to forex and special measures to avail adequate forex to Petroleum Importers Limited and other suppliers of fuel.

They also want Escom top management should be replaced with independent expert.

Malawians also want Anti Corruption Bureau to commence investigations of all people that have implicated in the recent Malawi Housing house sale scandal who include Peter Mutharika, the president’s brother as well investigating all the cabinet ministers and public servants who have amassed unexplained wealth.

They are also demanding that within a period of one month, Mutharika should declare his assets and explain his sources of funds to acquire and develop his opulent Ndata Farm and Palace.

Among others Malawians wants the First Lady’s contract to be nullified and all earnings refunded to Government and that the University Council to immediately reinstate the four lecturers dismissed during the academic freedom stalemate.

On behalf of the people of Malawi the civil society wants president Mutharika to nullify his presidential directive that demands a deposit of of K2 000 000 (about $13 157) for mass demonstrations.

Malawians also wants the government to stop unfair usage of MBC TV public broadcaster and television to castigate and threaten those with dissenting views and give social protection system for the good of welfare of Malawians.

But Mutharika warned against the planned August 17 demonstrations, saying there was enough blood spilled during the July 20 demonstration.

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