Malawi Police Services has said it is ready to police and protect Malawians including those who will be take part in the January 13 anti-government street protests organised civil society organisations (CSOs) against the National Aids Commission’s (NAC) disbursement of funds to non-conventional organisations and governance concerns.
According to the police, the general public should feel free to go about their daily economic and social activities without fear as it is in full control.
National police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo told Nyasa Times that the police are ready to protect people and property . She said they are not expecting anyone to misbehave.
Manjolo said Malawi Police Service is mandated by the constitution to provide safety and security to all citizens regardless of one’s standing in society and is also mandated to provide security in all planned demonstrations as stipulated in Police Act under part 9.
“We understand that these will be peaceful demonstrations,” she said. However, Manjolo said the police are ready to act lawfully if some people will start misbehaving in order to protect the property and lives of the innocent people.
“The organisers have assured us they do not want any trouble and their intention is to hold a short peaceful assembly before moving on,” she said.
Manjolo said law enforcers will act in a neutral capacity to facilitate the peaceful assembly and expect those attending to ensure they do behave peacefully and they don’t become involved in trouble.
Police has since asked those who are taking part in the demonstrations to ensure that they are following designated routes to avoid the wrath from the law enforcers.
Some CSOs are taking to the street on January 13 against NAC’s disbursement of funds to First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust and Mulhako wa Alhomwe cultural group which counts President Peter Mutharika among its members.
But Cultural Heritage Cooperation of Malawi acting director Dr. Owen Mbewe has described the planned as unnecessary.
Mbewe said the CSOs have personal interest in the planned demonstrations hence their reasons for demonstrating are not valid.
“Where were all these people and CSOs when people were stealing money from government in the infamous cashgate scandal and hiding it in cars and roof-sealing, why did they not choose to demonstrate then?” pondered Mbewe when he addressed reporters.
He added, “I appeal to Malawians to change their mentality on how to deal with issues affecting the nation, people should not rush to demonstrate but try to find a peaceful solutions through dialogue.”
Adventist Development Relief Agency (Adra) deputy executive director Michael Usi has also argued that demonstrations against NAC disbursement of funds to non-conventional organisations do not have a valid basis.
“Demonstrations should lead to elements that should build Malawi and not just to show power and presence,” said Usi, who is popular for playing the actor ‘Manganya’ in the local television Aids drama Tikuferanji.
Usi accused organisers of the street protests of being confused in their approach.
Buts CSO’s spokesman for the demonsytrations, Timonty Mtambo, said those that are speaking against the demonstration were part of government propaganda machinery to frustrare the protests.
“It’s all system go, the demonstrations will take place peacefully and our message will be put across. It’s a right to demonstrate and also our responsibility to do it peacefully,” he said.
According to Mtambo, there will be wide range of issues of national concerns that will be covered in a petition to be presented after the demonstrations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :