Malawi economy will grind to halt on Friday April 27 2018 as the civil society organisations (CSOs) will be holding planning the peaceful demonstrations and to hold vigils at Capital Hill in Lilongwe until either President Peter Mutharika or Vice-President Saulos Chilima receives their petition.
The CSOs, organising the demonstrations to express dissatisfaction with the K4 billion payout to members of Parliament (MPs) and other socio-economic and governance issues.
Malawi police have said they are ready to ensure the protests do not degenerate into any disturbances and remain peaceful.
“We are ready to see to it that the demonstrations are peaceful,” said National Police spokesman James Kadadzera.
Shop owners in Lilongwe have since been advised not to open on Friday as precautionary measure.
The chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF) chairperson Timothy Mtambo and other rights defenders Gift Trapence, Charles Kajoloweka and Billy Mayaya, thesaid they were mindful of the Executive’s attempts to frustrate the protests by instilling fear among the citizenry not to participate in the demos.
Mtambo called the demonstrations as a launch pad for “movement for change.”
But the Chiefs Forum held three press briefings in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu where they have asked people not to patronise the April 27 demonstration.
The forum’s secretary, Senior Chief Lukwa said: “ Our stand as chiefs on the K4 billion issue is that we want the money to go direct to the area development committees [ADCs] and village development committees [VDCs] so that they utilise this resource to complete various development projects. You know that in Malawi we have many problems, and many unfinished development projects, so if we say we do not want this money, it means we are punishing the masses out there who need it the most. On the calls for Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa whom the CSOs want to be sacked, my position is that this is a very sad development. These two ministers did nothing wrong to face dismissal.
“As chiefs, we are asking the government of Professor Peter Mutharika not to listen to the CSOs on this because they committed no sin. As chiefs, we acknowledge that people have a right to demonstrate, but some demonstrations are useless and unrealistic. In the present case, the demonstration is not realistic because there is no sin on the K4 billion.”