CSOs Statement on State House Anarchy Claims
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATION’s STATEMENT ON THE STATE HOUSE CLAIMS THAT CSOs AND MEDIA ARE CAUSING ANARCHY
Issued on Monday/ 12th March 2012
• Reaffirming that the role of CSOs is irreplaceable in a democracy and that any attempt to muzzle its legitimacy to operate is tantamount to the breach of the very foundation of democracy the current regime claims to support;
• Noting that no civil society or media has violated Section 3 (2) of the protected Flag, Emblems and Names as claimed in the State House Statement; and that the same provision does not supercede the Bill of Rights;
• Concerned with the accusations that civil society organizations who should partner government in development are receiving donor money to work against their own Head of State and government;
• Dismayed with government’s tendency to use flimsy, outrageous and unfounded accusations to divert the attention of Malawians from real issues affecting this country currently , coupled with its purportedly vicious strategy to use chiefs, some religious leaders and some NGOs to castigate CSOs in Malawi;
• Recalling that similar sentiments have been made before that CSOs have been paid money to advocate for referendum and overthrow government to the effect that government is currently directing hospitality institutions like hotels not to allow CSOs to hold their meetings;
• Perturbed that the statement comes barely hours after Mount Soche Hotel under instructions from government cancelled the booking of the meeting organized by the Public Affairs Committee, (PAC) to reflect on the state of affairs as one way of collectively exploring solutions to the crisis we are in. That the said all- inclusive meeting extended invitation to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), for which it is shameful, despicable and careless for the DPP to claim of coup when it is part of the same meeting;
On the 8th of March 2012, the State House issued a statement signed by the State House Press Officer, Mr. Albert Mungomo accusing CSOs and media of causing anarchy in the country. Also dismayed with the grounds for these baseless accusations and the consequent implications of such accusations necessitate a response from CSOs in Malawi ￼￼as follows:
• Aware that government has reportedly recruited agents, some from Zimbabwe, to attack and CSO leadership in addition to implicate by planting seditious documents, marijuana, firearms, and body parts for possible arrests. Also that the said agents, including some NGOs and leaders reportedly fully sponsored by government with money from Office of the President and Cabinet, (OPC) are currently marking cars used by CSO leaders and their respective houses to the extent that posters for sale bearing their names, mobile numbers and photos are being pasted on their cars and offices;
• Astonished that government is using the NGO board members whose appointment is already questioned to woo mostly CBOs from the districts under the disguise of NGOs to undermine the recognized NGO leadership and to stage a campaign in support of zero deficit budget and non-devaluation of Malawi Kwacha with lucrative token of appreciation for running this campaign at the expense of the ordinary Malawians who are sleeping on empty stomach; who are unable to get treatment at the hospitals and cannot afford their basic needs.
• Observing that recognized CSOs (i.e. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Justice Economic Network (MEJN) and Malawi Congress for Trade Union (MCTU)) who were maliciously included to propel the campaign have dissociated themselves from this cheap political propaganda which is vindictive of falsehood charactering DPP led government;
• Informed that government is coercing boards of some CSOs to destabilize CSOs by a way of giving some board members money and promising them diplomatic jobs and total protection for anything that might happen to them with blessings from the State President;
• Realizing that the President gave orders to DPP cadets cautiously and publicly to attack the very citizens who employed him. Also surprised that this is the second time that the President has assured DPP cadets of total protection under his leadership for any attacks made on CSOs, media, opposition and the general citizenry;
• Concerned with continued attacks on the media specifically the private media as noted by the attack on the Nation newspaper, Zodiak, Capital radio and Nyasatimes;
We, the undersigned, call for the following;
• The unconditional and immediate retraction of the State President’s order to DPP party cadets to attack innocent citizenry as this is vindictive of unwavering dictatorship which unfortunately is against the spirit of democracy.
• Reiterate that CSOs have no agenda for insulting or undermining the State President neither are there propagating regime change. In this case, constructive criticism should not be equated to insult. We categorically refute that no civil society organization is advancing the regime change claims as it is only Malawians who have the right to demand it should they not be satisfied by the governance of its government through the same available legal processes. However, we stand firm in our resolve as democracy tells that the wishes and needs of Malawians should be respected.
• That we will hold the State President accountable for any attack be it death, incarceration and disappearance of any CSO leaders, other human rights defenders and any Malawian.
• That the freedom of expression and association should not be muzzled under the disguise of respect for the elders as long as this is done within the precincts of the law.
• That Government should desist forthwith from use of intimidation/castigation against its own citizens as a mechanism to consolidate its power.
• The Government should guarantee all fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression and opinion. We reiterate that theses rights and freedoms are nonnegotiable and should be respected and protected at all times.
• That government should forthwith stop any attacks on the private media as doing so is an erosion of democracy and an undermine of the Constitution.
Made this 12th day of March, 2012 at Lilongwe- Malawi
We, the undersigned:
CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Church and Society
Civic and Political Space Platform – (CPSP)
Council for Non-Governmental Organization in Malawi – (CONGOMA) Church and Society, Nkhoma Synod
Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF)
Human Rights Consultative Committee – (HRCC)
The Governance Platform – (GP)
Malawi Congress for the Trade Union – (MCTU)
Malawians in Diaspora Forum – (MDF)
“A Better Malawi is Possible “