Civil society organisations (CSOs) say they will organise another nationwide protest over what they term “a lukewarm response” to their petition presented to President Peter Mutharika during the April 27 demonstrations.
In an open letter addressed to the President, the CSOs say they are disappointed that Mutharika has not acknowledged receipt of their petition. They further accuse the President of lacking political will and seriousness to address the issues raised in the petition.
But while refusing to comment on the open letter, presidential press secretary and spokesperson Mgeme Kalirani said in an interview yesterday Mutharika responded to the CSOs through the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara.
The letter, which also claims that Mutharika is unwilling to be held accountable by the citizens who voted him into power, has come after State House indicated that the President had appointed a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to look into the grievances that were raised in the 10-point petition.
However, the CSOs claim that they only learn about the committee through the media and that they were not communicated to.
In their open letter dated May 28 titled Follow Up On the Civil Society Petition of April 27 2018, the CSOs lament the lack of action on the part of Mutharika to respond to the issues raised.
“Our expectation was that upon Your Excellency’s return from overseas, your office should have officially communicated receipt of the said petition and responded to the demands within it accordingly,” reads part of the letter signed by Gift Trapence of Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and Timothy Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR).
According to the letter, some of the demands which required action in 10 days, have passed their time frame.
The letter has been copied to offices of the Vice-President, the Speaker, National Assembly, the Chief Justice and all political parties.
Kalirani said it is up to the CSOs to meet Muhara and follow up on the demands.
Efforts to speak to Muhara proved futile as his phone went unanswered. The Nation contacted Principal Secretary for Administration in the Office of the President and Cabinet Cliff Chiunda who also said Muhara was the right person to speak on the issue.
But Trapence, vice-chairperson of the CSOs operating under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition, said the CSOs expect Mutharika to respond to the grievances and not the Chief Secretary.