|By: Happy Arnold Soko
The Malawi government through the Malawi Police Service MPS has blocked the Human rights activist Billy Mayaya from proceeding with the 10th March scheduled demonstrations, The Malawi Star can reveal.
The demonstrations were supposed to take place in Lilongwe petitioning government over the current food and economic crisis.
In an interview with this publication on Wednesday, Mayaya said he is less assured if the demonstrations will take place.
“We haven’t been given permission from the police now. And nothing has come to us till now. Two weeks ago we notified the police of our plans to hold national wide demonstrations on the current food crisis. Yesterday at the last minute we were informed that the police will not give us a go ahead as they do not have the capacity to ensure our security.
“We are deeply saddened by this outcome however with the recent media attacks on the particularly the Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC) am not surprised. However, this will not deter civil society from exerting pressure on the government to be accountable to the long suffering of Malawians,” said Mayaya.
However when contacted, National Police Spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said he is not aware of the matter and referred the reporter to other officials who were unavailable for comment.
In his remarks, Central Region Police Spokesperson Ramsey Mushani hinted that it’s not the police that has the authority to grant Mayaya a go ahead with the demonstrations.
According to Mushani, the approval is supposed to come from the District Commissioner (DC) for
“It’s not the police that is supposed to give the authority but the DC. I have to find out more on this and I will come back to you later in the day,” he explained in a telephone interview.
Earlier this month Mayaya told local media that even though tons of maize have started arriving in the country from neighbouring countries, the demonstrations will still go ahead.
He blamed the government citing that it has come in too late and that the stock which is coming in is very low meaning that people will still be struggling to get maize.
October 27 last year Mayaya organized demonstrations in Lilongwe to express anger over dwindling health service delivery in the country but was scantly patronized.