Civil society organisations (CSOs) will on Thursday March 2 2017 hold demonstrations in Lilongwe, to among others, demand transparency, accountability and an end to impunity which they claim has reached disturbing levels in the country.
According to Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence, whose organisation is leading the protests alongside activists Billy Mayaya and McDonald Sembereka, the CSOs are concerned about President Peter Mutharika’s silence on the Maizegate.
In an interview yesterday, Trapence said government seems unwilling to implement all the recommendations that the commission of inquiry and the joint parliamentary committee on the maize saga made.
Among others, the joint parliamentary committee recommended that the board of Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) should initiate disciplinary proceedings against its senior managers who were involved in the maize procurement deal from Zambia.
It also recommended review of the Public Procurement Act to provide for the pre-procurement approval by the Secretary to the Treasury and the Attorney General for procurements by parastatals and State owned companies beyond certain thresholds.
The committee also recommended a review of the methodology currently used by Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) in coming up with its national food security assessments.
On the other hand, the commission of inquiry also recommended that, to the extent that procurement procedures were not followed and contracts were fraudulent entered into by Admarc management, disciplinary proceeding should be instituted.
Based on these, and others, Trapence noted that the only step that Mutharika has done is to fire George Chaponda as Agriculture and Water Development Minister, leaving the others unattended to.
He said the two reports provide another opportunity for Mutharika’s administration to provide decisive leadership in rooting out corruption in government, particularly among the ruling elite.
He said: “The CSOs demand nothing but full implementation of the inquiry recommendations. We call upon all relevant duty-bearers, including President Mutharika to provide decisive leadership in the fight against corruption, especially among those at the apex of government.
“Since these issues came out, the President has decided to remain silent. We are wondering why the silence. We need him to come out and address the country after the two reports. We have already sent notices of the protests to relevant authorities.”
According to a copy of the notification of the demonstrations sent to Lilongwe City Council and copied to Lilongwe Police Station and Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya, the protesters will march from Area 18 Roundabout from 7am, to City Centre and finally present a petition to Msowoya at Parliament Building.