A civil society leader in Malawi has dismissed SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s claims by Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Minister Goodall Gondwe that CSOs are planning to cause pandemonium on March 14 and topple government.
Livingstonia CCAP SynodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Church and Society Programme director Moses Mkandawire on Sunday said he is not aware of any civil society organisation (CSO) plans to take over government, arguing GondweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s allegations, made during the March 3 commemoration in Nkhata Bay, Ã¢â‚¬Å“are dangerous.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As a senior civil society leader with 17 years of experience in Malawi, we have never sat as CSOs to discuss toppling the government. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seek to occupy political positions; we just monitor and play the watchdog role.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Gondwe, who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) first vice-president, made the allegation at Ilala Lodge on the sidelines of the 53rd commemorations of the March 3, 1959 killings. He was addressing some DPP faithful following his key-note address at the main function held earlier at the Nkhata Bay Jetty warehouses.
Claimed Gondwe: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Civil society wants to throw the country into pandemonium on the 14th of this month to remove [President] Bingu [wa Mutharika] and put someone on the presidency. They also want to disrupt the 2014 elections because they know they will not win it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The minister alleged the build-up to the day is being fuelled by the print media who are always picking on Mutharika.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The economy is bad, we will fix it. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a reason we should kill each other. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good that you people from Nkhata Bay never participated in the riots of 20 July. Even now, your responsibility is to stay at home.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But they will fail and this time, they will be no burning of DPP membersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ houses because we are ready. If they burn one, many will burn,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gondwe.
His remarks came hot on the heels of a planned meeting by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) involving all stakeholders, including government, to discuss the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s political and economic crisis in Blantyre.
Gondwe also took time to discredit Vice-President Joyce BandaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presidential bid. He also sold MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s zero-deficit budget and Peter Mutharika, the DPPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2014 torch-bearer.
Said Gondwe: Ã¢â‚¬Å“And there is this woman, whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s her name? Yes, Joyce BandaÃ¢â‚¬â€who would even vote for her? She only learnt typing studies? I hear she claims to be a Tonga, too. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Peter Mutharika who will win the elections. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why they want to sabotage them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
When called on Sunday to clarify what he meant on what he meant by his Nkhata Bay remarks and if he has any evidence of the coup plot, Gondwe directed the newspaper to DPP spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba.
Said Gondwe: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where did I say that? Speak to Ntaba. He has the details.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But Ntaba said he was not in Nkhata Bay and did not hear what Gondwe said; therefore, could not comment on something he was not aware of until he contacts Gondwe himself.