Disgruntled Concerned Citizens have distanced themselves from the decision comedian-cum political activist Bon Kalindo made to suspend all the planned anti-government demonstrations.
Kalindo told journalists in Lilongwe on Thursday that he had decided to call off the demonstrations to give the government time to address issues raised in their previous petitions and to respond to the needs of the people affected by the effects of the Tropical Cyclone Ana.
He claimed that Concerned Citizens were equally concerned with the trail of damage to property and loss of over 46 lives the hailstorm has left since the onset of the rains.
Kalindo further said they were impressed with the progress the Tonse Alliance government is making towards addressing their concerns, citing the dropping of Kezzie Msukwa from the recently constituted Cabinet as an example that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera had started attending to their grievances.
But a multitude of Concerned Citizens, led by Levi Luwemba, has distanced themselves from the decision to suspend the protests.
Addressing journalists at Crown Hotel where Kalindo announced cancellation of the demonstrations, Luwemba apologized to “all Malawians over what happened during last Thursday’s media briefing in Lilongwe.”
Luwemba said the announcement to suspend the planned protests over several issues affecting majority of poor Malawians was not wholly endorsed and agreed upon by some senior members of the group and indeed all well-meaning citizens.
“Nonetheless, we respect the current direction taken by Mr. Bon Kalindo and others of focusing on another noble national cause of helping households hit-hard by Cyclone Ana especially in the southern region. But we will not stoop so low to suggest that decision warrants our complete suspension of our initially lined up protests pushing for answers on critical matters haunting the nation,” he said.
He added, “For a fact, we share the blame for mistakenly allowing the group operate as a personal project from the onset. But that doesn’t kill the serious agenda of rescuing the poor from insensitive government decisions, retrogressive and political empty promises and indecisiveness at the highest level in providing direction that saves struggling Malawians.”
Luwemba said it was wrong for Kalindo to “claim ownership of being a Concerned Citizen than others. Unzika okhudzidwa ulibe mwinimwini!”
“One can be concerned with a different issue from the other. Currently our colleagues led by Mr. Kalindo have shifted the focus to Malawians who have been affected by the cyclone Ana she some of us remain with the agenda we started this movement for. Let me stress here that Mr. Kalindo’s announcement suspending the demos was without proper consultations with relevant stakeholders hence widely viewed as null and void.
“It is for this reason that the majority leadership of concerned citizens did not avail itself at the Thursday briefing as a way of protesting against the suspension of the demos. We fully agree and stand with all Malawians that the reasons for the suspension of demonstrations do not make sense at all and raise more suspicions, doubts and questions than clear answers,” he said.
Luwemba said although they do acknowledge the commitment the Tonse administration has demonstrated under duress to work on some of their concerns, there are still traits of executive arrogance motivates them to push for the changes Malawians want.
He said they are not impressed with the progress the government is making in addressing substantive issues that affect the common man in the village, which include skyrocketing prices of basic commodities such as soap, matches, salt, sugar and cooking oil.
“Therefore most lead members of the group gathered here are of the considered view that we will continue with the demonstrations as a way of engaging the government to address these issues. We remain determined to ensure that the Tonse administration fulfils the campaign promise.
This Malawi belongs to us and none owns exclusive ownership of it. Yes, it is not a personal estate just like this group.
We announce the suspension of a call to suspend the planned demos and announce that very soon we will tell the nation the next demos we will have,” said Luwemba.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :