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Dates Announced For Nationwide Demos Against Chakwera

By Watipaso Mzungu

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) and the Lilongwe and Blantyre Small Scale Business Operators are set to take to the streets beginning December 16, 2020, to protest the decision by President Lazarus Chakwera to ignore their call to take action on illegal immigrants who are plying trade in the country’s strategic cities and towns.

CDEDI and the business operators recently wrote Chakwera demanding that his government should flush out illegal immigrants from China, Nigeria, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Rwanda, Burundi, and Somalia who are conducting businesses in the country and have allegedly taken up the last available economic opportunities for the locals.

But the President has remained mute on the matter, a development that has prompted to mobilize Malawians to descend on the streets effective Wednesday, December 16, 2020, with the City of Lilongwe where a petition will be delivered to the President through the City’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The peaceful demonstrations will then spill over to the cities of Blantyre and Mzuzu.

Addressing journalists in Lilongwe recently, CDEDI executive director, Sylvester Namiwa, said further details on the route that will be taken, and the time for the peaceful demonstrations will be announced in due course.

“The fourteen (14) day ultimatum CDEDI and the Lilongwe and Blantyre Small Scale Business Operators gave to government has elapsed. So far, there has not been any response from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), and neither has there been any word from the State House. This is a clear case of impunity and executive arrogance which has no space in a modern-day democratic Malawi,” he said.

“CDEDI and the Lilongwe Small Scale Business Operators will lead all well-meaning Malawians in exercising their democratic right to conduct peaceful demonstrations to demand answers and explanations from President Chakwera and his administration on Chakwera’s refusal to withdraw and apologise to the nation for using the word ‘NYANSI’ in reference to people his government is arresting, firing or suspending from the public service; the shambolic Affordable Input Program (AIP), which is taking away the dignity of the poor people, especially women who are sleeping at the selling depots and are being exposed to all sorts of sexual abuses,” said Namiwa who was flanked by the leadership of Lilongwe and Blantyre Small Scale Business Operators.

He added that his organization and the business operators have been riled by the failure by the Tonse Alliance government to address acute shortages of food across the country, which have hit hard the poor and the marginalized people.

Additionally, they are against the government’s alleged selective application of justice by arresting people from one region and tribe while sparing corrupt public officials from the Tonse Alliance partners such as a Cabinet Minister, his advisor and other alliance partners involved in the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) fuel supply scandal.

“We are protesting against failure by Chakwera to update Malawians on the hotel bills saga at Crossroads Hotel involving his Chief of Staff and the Director of Finance at State House; Chakwera’s failure to honour his promise to produce an expenditure report on the Independence Celebrations that were cancelled at the eleventh hour; the inhumane enforcement of tax and other regulations on Motorbike Kabanza operators; the doubling of MPs’ and Ward Councilors’ perks when the rest of the civil servants have been given an average 10 percent hike; total disregard of the rule of law by Dr. Chakwera and the Secretary to the President Cabinet,” said Namiwa.

He further accused the State President of acting contrary to the Attorney General’s legal opinion to give Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioners Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje their appointment letters, and by accepting the firing of public officers with legal contracts; ignoring the voices of the landless people in Thyolo and Mulanje districts, whose land was grabbed by the white settlers from Britain and the abandonment of the Tonse Alliance flagship campaign promises that were contained in the alliance partners’ consolidated manifesto.

Namiwa reminded Chakwera that political and legal powers accorded to him under section 12 of the Republican Constitution derive from the people of Malawi, and the one exercising such powers does so on sustained trust.

“It is, therefore, our expectation that the President will act on these issues in earnest, and as his obligation to serve Malawians, without necessarily waiting for the citizenry to go onto the streets to demand their rights,” he concluded. [END]

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