By Alfred Mthandizi
Billy Banda of Malawi Watch—a popular social-political activist—was reportedly forced out of a meeting in which Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Goodall Gondwe, was meeting Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) over the controversial K4 billion at Capitol Hill for apparently “gate-crushing because he was not among the invitees.
Gift Trapence, a popular human rights activist and executive director, who attended the meeting, did not dispute the development. He said it was “true.” Gondwe is the one who proposed that the meeting should take place with the CSOs.
The addressee in his invitation letter was Youth and Society Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka and copied to Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) led by Gift Trapence and Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) of Timothy Mtambo.
Said Trapence: “Before the meeting, we noticed there was an intruder and asked the Minister [Gondwe] to let him go.” According to Trapence, they politely asked the person not to be in the meeting. “He complied and left,” he said.
Our reporters were tipped that recently Banda, who was a popular activist during the Bakili Muluzi and Bingu wa Mutharika regimes, is now a sympathizer for the Peter Mutharika government. Trapence said it was not a surprising matter. “CSOs will always be divided. But we are principled and shall always stand for the voiceless. We are not opportunists,” he said.