President Peter Mutharika is yet to act on a petition civil society organisations (CSOs) issued, giving him 100 days to respond to economic and governance issues affecting the country.
The ultimatum officially expired on Wednesday and the CSOs confirmed that Mutharika has neither responded nor acknowledged receipt of the petition and a follow-up letter they wrote him.
About 21 CSOs, working in the realm of human rights, governance, HIV and Aids and health, presented a 22-point petition to the President on January 13 2015 after nationwide demonstrations.
The petition was primarily triggered by the revelation that the National Aids Commission (NAC) had been disbursing money to institutions that do not deal with HIV and Aids issues such as the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), Mulhakho wa Alhomwe and First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beatify Malawi Trust.
In an interview on Wednesday, one of the petitioners, Gift Trapence, who is executive director of Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), described Mutharika’s silence as being “against the spirit of tolerance, transparency, accountability and responsiveness expected of any democratic leader and State”.
Trapence said the CSOs were set to meet yesterday to chart the way forward and ensure that government complies with the recommendations raised in the petition.
Said Trapence: “We have already started taking some steps by using other mechanisms to ensure that our grievances are responded to. As CSOs we will not relent until our governments are accountable.”
He said among the mechanisms they will use are involvement of the United Nations, Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) protocol and the African Commission.”
He said: “We included some of the concerns in our shadow report which we submitted to the UN and African Commission.
But presidential advisor on NGOs Mabvuto Bamusi yesterday said the President was already responding to the issue in a holistic and more embracing manner.