Civil society organisations (CSO’s) and citizens operating under the banner of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) have announced that they will conduct nationwide demonstrations on September 7 2018 in reaction to what they described as inaction by President Peter Mutharika following the April 27 demonstrations.
In a statement issued Thursday, and signed by Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, the coalition’s chairperson and vice, respectively, the CSOs claim that Mutharika has not shown any willingness to be held accountable.
“We have noted with utmost alarm and disappointment President Professor Peter Mutharika’s inaction on the April 27th Petition. Close to two months after we presented the 10-point demands to the State President, the Malawi leader has done nothing on them. The President hasn’t even demonstrated any decorum of acknowledging receipt of the petition,” reads the statement in part.
The CSOs further says they expected the President to rise to the promise of democracy and provide practical solutions to demands they raised.
“Shockingly, the President decided to use usual time-buying tactics of setting up a ‘committee’ to look into the issues he can address by mere pronouncement. Why should, for instance, reversing the appointment of Rodney Jose as acting Inspector General of Police involve setting up of a committee,” it reads.
In the statement, the CSOs have also accused the government of disbursing the controversial K4 billion to district councils without addressing the concerns surrounding it.
“The President and his government machinery have decided to sweep all the demands raised in the petition under the carpet with the hope that the issues will eventually fizzle out of the national appeal. This would surely be a disastrous miscalculation on the part of the President. We cannot and will not be broken down by spirited efforts by the President and loyalists to create an impression that thousands of citizens marched in vain on 27th April 2018. We will not leave the President and his government to their own undemocratic devices,” the statement reads.
But Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi, who is also government spokesperson, Thursday blamed the CSOs for being in a hurry.
“Government is preparing facts to make sure that we come up with a comprehensive response, because some of the concerns were already addressed, some are being addressed. So we have to look at every ministry, department and we are going to respond.
“This issue, by the way, is not about the President; they should stop singling out the President, it means they have something personal against the President. This issue is about the government and getting things together in the government is not a one-day job. I do not know why they are in a hurry,” he said.
On April 27, Malawians took to the streets across the country and staged peaceful demonstrations calling for the resignation of Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa.
The CSOs were demanding the resignation of the two ministers for their alleged role in the planned allocation of K4 billion issue.