Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) executive director, Gift Trapence, earned a heroic stint and was christened the ‘Julius Malema of Malawi’ for relentlessly showcasing courage throughout the nationwide demonstrations over the K4 billion scam on Friday.
Malema is a Member of Parliament and the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, a far-left and racial nationalist South African political party, which he founded in July 2013.
He is known for his courage and fearlessness in fighting for the voiceless and the underprivileged
CEDEP collaboratively organized the protests, that among others want Ministers Kondwani Nankhumwa and Goodall Gondwe to step down immediately for their dubious involvement in the scam, with Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Youth and Society (YAS).
At Mchesi, where the protests began from, Trapence was a hero among the youths who formed a large number of the protesters for speaking boldly about issues affecting the youth included in the 10-point petition.
“We’re tired of joblessness! We must be heard and that will be done today! We must show them that we are frustrated and we want them to look into our issues with seriousness or they must go,” a determined Trapence amidst great handclapping.
Trapence, who comes from the southern region himself, spoke boldly against nepotism and ‘Lhomwelisation of Malawi.’
Lhomwe is President Peter Mutharika tribe which enjoys most of the national cake.
According to Trapence, Malawi “should belong to us all” and not just some tribe or region.
Detained by police?
At around Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) where the protesters faced police intimidation and resistance, Trapence spent close to an hour in a closed meeting with members of the police service led by deputy inspector general of police, Duncan Mwapasa, and some government officials at Lilongwe Civic Offices.
Protesters feared that Trapence had been arrested, based on earlier speculations.
Joseph Gondwe, a human rights defender, staff from CHRR and Rodgers Newa, a rights activist tried to force their way in but could not because of heavy police absence.
But a smiling and focused Trapence came out of the meeting—after about an hour—to the excitement of all the protesters.
He walked down from the Civic Offices a hero with Mwapasa on his left, petition and letter of clearance to get to Capital Hill in hand.
Almost everyone wanted to touch his hand or hug him, but Trapence was well protected by protesters that had volunteered to provide his security detail.
“I think he has done a great job. They have done a great job. I can only describe them as our Julius Malemas of Malawi,” said Gilbert Botha, a businessman and entrepreneur in the city.
Trapence told Nyasa Times after the petition was delivered that he was glad that Malawians had turned up in large numbers.
“Our role is to sensitize and mobilize. It is up to the citizens to take it up or not; and, I am happy that Malawians have noticed for themselves that things are not on in this country,” said Trapence.
Clad in red and black attire, scores of marchers started off from the high density area of Mchesi, passed along Kamuzu Central Hospital and proceeded into the City Centre.
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