Civil society organisations (CSOs) planning the April 27 2018 demonstrations have threatened to hold vigils at Capital Hill until either President Peter Mutharika or Vice-President Saulos Chilima receives their petition.
They have since written Chief Secretary to Government Llyod Muhara, notifying Capital Hill of their intentions to hold demonstrations and the resultant vigil if their demands are not met.
The CSOs, organising the demonstrations to express dissatisfaction with the K4 billion payout to members of Parliament (MPs) and other socio-economic and governance issues, were snubed on Monday after Chilima followed Mutharika to rebuff a request to receive the petition.
In response, CSOs yesterday wrote Muhara making a final notification that they will deliver their petition to OPC, and will only accept either Mutharika or Chilima to receive the petition.
In the letter, signed by chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF) chairperson Timothy Mtambo and other rights defenders Gift Trapence, Charles Kajoloweka and Billy Mayaya, the CSOs said they were mindful of the Executive’s attempts to frustrate the protests.
“We shall submit this petition addressed to the Head of State and Government through either the President or Vice-President in person at the Office of the President and Cabinet at the Capital Hill in Lilongwe between 9am and 11am.
“Mindful of the Executive’s attempts to frustrate these peaceful demonstrations despite the cooperation of the organisers with relevant authority to ensure a peaceful demonstration, we will not at any cost accept anyone besides the presidency to receive our petition even if it means conducting vigils for days at your office until either of the two receives our petition in person,” reads the letter in part.
According to the CSOs, the nature of the issues contained in their 10-point petition requires the ‘chief political executive’ of the political arm of the public service (President or Vice-President) to receive the petition.
“Indeed, as rightly put in the 2014 DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] manifesto that no person in Malawi should ever believe that Malawi is his or her personal property.
“We, the citizens shall not sit and watch Executive arrogance from either the President or Vice-President stopping Malawians from exercising their constitutional right in demanding the fulfilment of the presidency’s obligations in the Social Contract which they signed with Malawians in 2014,” they added.
In an interview yesterday, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi reiterated that the Constitution guarantees the citizenry their right to hold peaceful demonstrations.