LILONGWE— Civil society organisations (CSOs) that led the April 27 anti-government demonstrations yesterday met Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Lazarus Chakwera, to express their dismay at government’s apparent failure to address concerns raised in the petition.
Chakwera was one of the officials who were given a copy of the petition delivered to President Peter Mutharika.
Among other demands, the CSOs want the opposition to block the appointment of Rodney Jose as Inspector General (IG) of Police for allegedly being involved in the murder of Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student at the University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic.
According to the CSOs, Jose is yet to be cleared on the allegations.
They were also seeking clarification from Chakwera on reports that some members of his party have accepted the K4 billion community development money—raised to K6 billion—having initially indicated that they would not accept their portion of the funds.
One of the CSO leaders, Gift Trapence, said in an interview after meeting Chakwera that they also implored the Leader of Opposition and other lawmakers to bring back to Parliament Electoral Reforms (Amendment) Bills that were frustrated by government last year.
“We want the opposition to put pressure on the government for the issues we raised to be addressed. For instance, the issue of the appointment of the IG is something which we believe the opposition will have to look at critically.
“We also dwelled much on the [issue of K6 billion allocation]. We maintain that the funds should have been better managed. It is unfortunate that the money is being disbursed. For the MPs [Members of Parliament], it is an issue of whether they trust the system through which that is happening,” Trapence said.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, who spoke with the media after the meeting, said, on the issue of the appointment of the IG, they would scrutinise the individual the government brings to Parliament.
He said: “It has to be borne in mind that the office of the IG is not yet vacant because the actual contract of Lexten Kachama, who is on administrative leave pending his retirement at the end of this month, is still valid
“Perhaps the government will bring to Parliament another IG such that it may not be right now to say what will happen when the [name of the] officer is brought to Parliament.”
However, Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa recently indicated that the government would be bringing a motion for the confirmation of Jose.
On the issue of K6 billion, Mkaka said MCP’s position has not changed.
“What the government is doing is independent of MCP and that is what we have told the CSOs,” Mkaka said.
Meanwhile, the CSOs are expected to meet leaders of other opposition political parties, namely the People’s Party, United Democratic Front and Alliance for Democracy.