Governance activist Undule Mwakasungula has called for dialogue with civil society organisations (CSOs) to ensure peaceful protests on Thursday March 2 2017 hold in Lilongwe when activists take to the streets to hold “Day of Rage” demonstrations.
The CSOs demand transparency, accountability and an end to impunity which they claim has reached disturbing levels in the country.
However, Mwakasungula, who organised the in famous 20 July, demonstrations and is now towing the government line, said he dialogue is the best option in any advocacy.
Undule said the memories are still fresh on how 20 people were killed by law enforcers during the 20 July demonstrations.
“It was not intention for the country to lose such people but other people with ill motives just invaded the demonstrations,” said Mwakasungula.
“For sure as a democrat I dont dispute demonstrations which are a constitutional right to every citizen but that must be the last resort,” he said.
“We should avoid comparison to the 20th July 2011 demos which were in different times and unique. The times and terrain have all changed of course with new challenging factors but also with more opportunities for open engagement and dialogue than the current unnecessary confrontation.
“We should have these demonstrations after exhausting all channels of engagements and dialogue. Remember such actions might be hijacked by opportunists and may result in loss of innocent lives and properties as was the case of 20th July demos,” said Mwakasungula.
Mwakasungula said time has come for Malawi to develop and move on.
“The nation must at all costs create and support an honest dialogue framework with some lessons from the 20th July demonstrations. We must avoid moving in circles as a nation by pursing efforts which will take us nowhere.
“Malawi must give dialogue a chance because we will continue finger pointing, accusations against each other, political bickering and all sorts setbacks against the interests of national development and unity,” he said.
Mwakasunguila added: “We seem to be a nation that lacks a common purpose, vision and unity. But we must remember that in any action we want to take Malawi is the only country we know.”
According to Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence, whose organisation is leading the protests alongside activists Billy Mayaya and McDonald Sembereka, the CSOs are concerned about President Peter Mutharika’s silence on the Maizegate.
“The CSOs demand nothing but full implementation of the inquiry recommendations. We call upon all relevant duty-bearers, including President Mutharika to provide decisive leadership in the fight against corruption, especially among those at the apex of government.
“Since these issues came out, the President has decided to remain silent. We are wondering why the silence. We need him to come out and address the country after the two reports. We have already sent notices of the protests to relevant authorities,” said Trapence.
According to a copy of the notification of the demonstrations sent to Lilongwe City Council and copied to Lilongwe Police Station and Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya, the protesters will march from Area 18 Roundabout from 7am, to City Centre and finally present a petition to Msowoya at Parliament Building.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :