Chakwera, Sidik and Abida Mia Join Demonstrations

By Alfred Mthandizi

Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera and Sidik and his wife Abida Mia on Friday joined the peaceful demonstrators in the streets of the Capital Lilongwe marching to petition President Peter Mutharika and his administration on governance shortcoming.

Civil society organizations (CSOs) organized nationwide protests and Chakwera and Abida, joined them in the protest. Donning a black shirt, and Abida in jean trouser, Chakwera walked near the main placard and mixed freely with the other protesters of the disbursement of the K4 billion to legislators and other issues.

Initially, the MCP leader was part of the agreement by members of Parliament (MPs) to allocate the said amount to all the 193 MPs instead of the initial 80, before making a U-turn later.

On Thursday the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters, clad in their party regalia of blue T-shirts, put business to a standstill in Blantyre as they blocked main roads in the city on their way to Limbe.

The scenes were reminiscent of events on the eve of the July 20 2011 nationwide anti-government protests against the administration of Bingu Wa Mutharika when panga-wielding DPP cadets paraded in Blantyre central business district (CBD), warning people not to take to the streets.

While they were not seen with pangas yesterday, the DPP youth inconvenienced motorists and pedestrians alike along the way as they chanted: “Sitilora, ma demo amenewa! Sitilora, ma demo amenewa! [We won’t allow the demonstrations to take place].”

The CSOs want Cabinet ministers Goodal Gondwe (Finance, Economic Planning and Development) and Kondwani Nankhumwa (Local Government and Rural Development), to voluntarily step down or the President should fire them for their roles in the K4 billion financial transaction and an annulment of the entire arrangement. The two ministers have insisted they did nothing wrong.

They also protested against other issues such as deterioration of basic services like blackouts, high rate of unemployment and the general decay of the state of governance.

The demonstrations were also being be held in Karonga, Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba.

In Mzuzu, MCP executive member and lawmaker Harry Mkandawire was also spotted on the front line.

Among the CSOs that organized the demos and signed the petition are Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Cedep, Youth and Society (YAS), Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

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