Malawi’s leading online newspaper, Nyasa Times, has made 2011 the ‘Year of the Protestor’ –on July 20 and 21 and also those who took part in academic freedom demonstrations.
Nyasa Times introduced its ‘Person of the Year’ accolade in 2010 which was first given to Vice President Joyce Banda who defied President Bingu wa Mutharika plans to hand over power to his brother Peter Mutharika. Banda is since running People’s Party which is gaining popurality.
The Nyasa Times “person of the year” is someone who, for better or for worse, influences the events of the year.
Announcing the 2011 winner of the title, Nyasa Times Managing Editor, Edgar Msowoya Chibaka, said: “We need to recognise the courage Malawians had to express themselves against the Mutharika oppressive regime on various concerns on governance and economic issues.”
He said the ‘person of the year’ award is a special tribute to the participants of the July 20/21 nationwide demonstration, the 19 victims, those injured at the hands of regime security forces who used lethal force and those who suffered under the academic freedom protestations.
Nyasa Times said the brave Malawians deserve the special pat on their backs in 2011 – regarded as the worst year in struggle history – as they did not fear “ even in a cloud of tear gas, lethal weapons, injunctions and arrests.”
The online publication said the Protester being recognised in a lengthening list of all protests including the academic freedom battle when police sent spies to Chancellor College of the University of Malawi after a political science professor Blessing Chinsinga gave an example of the Arab spring.
The civil society, faith leaders, the media , university students and all those who protested against the bad governance, are being honoured.
The Protestor is the sysmbol of our modern struggle for freedom having fought the imperialists for independence. The Protestor understood that the prospects and aspirations of the Malawian people cannot be reliased under an oppressive regime that kills its own people.
The Protestor want a vibrant economy that is creating jobs, fights poverty, gets the best out of its people, respects the rights of its citizens, fights corruption, nepotism and trasparent in its dealings.
Nyasa Times seems a greater force of the Protestor in 2012.