18 February 2019

Malawi: CSO's Announces Anti-Govt Demo Set for March 27 - MBC, Corruption Among Issues

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), which organised a nationwide demonstration last year, have confirmed that they will hold another peaceful protests on March 27 over numerous social ills happening in the country.

The members of the Human Rights Defenders' Coalition (HRDC) made the announcement in Lilongwe on Sunday during a news conference.

Addressing journalists, HRDC Regional Chairperson for the Centre, Billy Mayaya, said among other things: "The demonstrations have been organised to condemn rampant corruption in the country, killings and abductions of people with albinism as well as shameless abuse of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gurus to their interest and reducing the Malawi Police Service to a DPP wing and attempts to kill the gender equality strides that Malawi has made.".

Mayaya said the HRDC have been left with no other option but to mobilise the populace, and hold demonstrations as yet another way in engaging the government of Malawi over a number of unresolved issues of national concern.

The HRDC said it has lost trust in the current regime headed by President Peter Mutharika.

"This is a regime that has more than once demonstrated its incompetency and utter lack of direction in addressing numerous challenges that Malawi is currently facing. It is clear that the regime is out of touch and control, a scenario that has made Malawi to be a ship without a captain."

HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said they have on numerous occasions tried to provide alternative policy directions to the current regime on various challenges that Malawi is facing but "unfortunately our submissions have either been ridiculed, ignored or partially acknowledged and halfheartedly implemented."

The CSOs have been giving Mutharika several ultimatums, asking him to step down or that he be impeached.

Meanwhile, at the National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting in Lilongwe, stakeholders failed MBC for its bias towards ruling DPP.

But MBC director general Aubrey Sumbuleta said MBC is prepared to offer an equal opportunity to all candidates "when official campaign period starts [March 20".

He said the national broadcaster will record-30-minute programmes with all presidential candidates based on some topical issues.

The CSOs have said they will be demanding the opening up of the airwaves to all political players and demand an immediate end of the broadcasting of propaganda.

Additionally, the CSOs fault Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) that it continues to abuse the Communication Act by threatening and censoring media houses that are providing critical checks and balances to Mutharika's administration while at the same time paying a blind eye to the misconduct of the state broadcaster.


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