Concerned Blantyre-based football supporters have indefinitely suspended their planned demonstrations against governmentâ€™s delay to reopen Kamuzu Stadium.
The demonstrations were scheduled for on Wednesday, but they were called-off following a meeting the concerned supporters had with Southern Region Police headquarters Tuesday morning.
And in a related development, government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports on Wednesday told bidders that they expect the cordoning-off task to be done within in two weeks.
The concerned supportersâ€™ chairperson Mabvuto Chibambo and his deputy Hassan Mahomed said they agreed to call off the demonstrations following a meeting they had with the police over logistics.
Said Chibambo: â€œWe were summoned to Southern Region Police headquarters yesterday [Tuesday] where we were asked to put the demonstration on hold pending other logistical arrangements, such as security.
â€œFurther to that, having attended the meeting between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and bidders today [Wednesday], we are satisfied that government has shown serious commitment to have the stadium reopened soon by giving prospective contractors a minimum of two weeks to cordon-off the affected areas.â€
He said in view of the development, the supporters will wait for another two weeks to give government another chance to cordon-off the affected areas.
He also said during the meeting police claimed that they were not officially aware of the planned demonstrations.
â€œBut we explained to them that I personally delivered the letter to the administration department and one of the women officers acknowledged receipt of the same. Perhaps, it was due to communication breakdown.
â€œNevertheless, the police asked us to put the demonstrations on hold because there were other logistics that needed to be looked into such as planning and security to which we accepted,â€ said Chibambo.
On Tuesday, Southern Region Police publicist Nicholas Gondwa said they were not officially aware of the planned demonstrations by the concerned supporters.
â€œWe just heard from the media that they were planning demonstrations, but we did not get official communication,â€ said Gondwa.
Addressing the supporters after briefing the bidders at the stadium, Principal Secretary II in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Justin Saidi said the exercise would take two weeks.
â€œThe opening of the bids will be held this Friday in Lilongwe, Then there will be evaluation and the successful bidder will be announced. Then the sight [stadium] will be handed over to the successful bidder who will be expected to finalise the work within a two-week stipulated period. Thereafter, the stadium will be open for use,â€ explained Saidi.
However, Saidi said he could not determine the approximate date when the work will be finalised as that will depend on when the sight will be handed over to the contractor.
â€œBut it should be very soon because the period has been set by quantity surveyors who are experts in the field,â€ he said.