NyasaLeaks: Opposition bankrolls NGOs for ‘regime change’ demo

A leaked email from one of the civil society  leaders in Malawi organising national wide demonstrations has revealed that the opposition party leaders are hugely funding the planned September 21 demonstrations meant to ignite ‘regime change’.

The email posted on http://www.nyasaleaks.com/ is from Mosses Mkandawire to Pat Kaira titled minutes “20th meeting”.

It  shows that State Vice President and President of newly launched People’s Party, Joyce Banda, opposition leader in Parliament John Tembo,  UDF deputy leader in parliament Atupele Muluzi and former Director of Public Prosecution Fahad Assani are some of the biggest local donors for the civil society.

Among other things contained in the email, the CSO leaders cast doubt on the United Nations mediated dialogue currently going on.

Tembo: Eyes the presidency

The leaders “observed that things will not change as the President will not make any effort to address the concerns of the Malawians. Therefore the members agreed to proceed with demo plans and all agreed with the 21st September as the set date.”

To that effect the CSO members divided their activities into two, one for dialogue and another to plan for the demonstrations slated for the 21st September.

According to the email, the 16 member 21st September team comprises;  Gift Trapence,  Peter Chinoko, Emma Kaliya, Benedicto Kondowe, Robert Mkwezalamba, Chrispine Sibande, Rodgers Newa,  Robert Phiri, Moses Mkandawire, Rafiq Hajat, Vitumbiko Kaira, Billy Mayaya, Raphael Kasambala, Martha Kwataine, Undule Mwakasungule and Voice Mhone.

On the financial stand of the CSO leaders, the emails reveal that Mwakasungula “reported that as of 18th August [they had] MK8, 640,000.00 for Demos and legal issues and pledges.

Tembo pledged M1 million, Vice President Banda K2 millions, Atupele Muluzi K2 million, Assani K2 million, MP Khumbo Kachali K500, 000, PPM president Mark Katsonga K500, 000 and Petra president Kamuzu Chibambo K200, 000.

“Members agreed to keep this information under custody since Malawians can be divided if this can be known to them because they belong to different parties,” reveals the email.

The emailed report also indicates that the CSO leaders have international donors who were to be known at the follow up meeting.

President Bingu wa Mutharika is on record accusing “foreign elements” the sponsoring the protest plans.

“In the name of human rights, the activities of these groups are being underwritten by foreign elements to cause mayhem and insecurity,” he said, adding: “I will hunt you down and bring you to justice.”

On the demos slated for the 21st September, 2011, the emailed report indicates that they will take place for two days within which the President “must” answer all concerned issues.

“If this will not happen the appointed people [will] present resignation letter to state house, and all media houses. Therefore the president shall be given 5 days to resign,” states the report.

Civil society organisations in Malawi had earlier called for nationwide vigils on August 17 to protest Mutharika’s rule, but cancelled them after Mutharika made an appeal to “save lives and destruction of property.”

Critics accuse Mutharika of becoming increasingly autocratic, presiding over an economic downward spiral and alienating the country’s foreign donors.

Last month 19 people were killed in the impoverished southern African country when police opened fire on anti-government protesters.

However, Nyasa Times understands that division has rocked the opposition bloc as who will lead the nation after the President’s removal.

The battle has ensued mainly among State Vice President Banda and opposition chief Tembo.

An inside source who sought for strict anonymity revealed that none of them wants to give up on who will be President. The source says at their last meeting, Tembo was offered the state vice presidency but he turned down the offer claiming he cannot be vice to Banda.

“He indicated that he will not go for anything less than the presidency which JB is not ready to give away as well,” said the source.

Mutharika came to office in 2004 and was re-elected with a large majority in 2009.

But he has since been criticised for expelling rivals from the ruling party, expanding presidential power and signing laws that have restricted protests and media freedom.

The United States has put on hold a $350-million grant for Malawi’s energy sector out of and Britain also suspended aid.

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