By Alfred Mthandizi
Malawi Civil society organizations (CSOs) had given President Peter Mutharika 90 days to address issues contained in their 10-point petition or they will April 27 demonstrations to force the President out of power.
The CSOs, organizing the demonstrations to express dissatisfaction with the K4 billion payout to members of Parliament (MPs) and demand that the disbursement of the funds be completely cancelled within 30 days “as its objective and motives were not to pursue public interest, but rather to reward betrayal of public trust through the rejection of the peoples’ electoral reforms.’’
They had also demanded that the Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa to resign or get fired by President within 20 days over their dubious role in the K4 Billion payout. “The K4 Billion scandal has raised more questions than answers on the integrity of not only the two ministers but also the entire government.”
The petition demanded the re-tabling and enactment of the all the elections related bills including 50%+1 electoral system of electing the President in their original form as proposed by the Law Commission within 40 days. “We demand these elections related laws including the 50%+1 to be enacted in their original form as proposed by the Malawi Law Commission.”
The demands include President Mutharika to reverse his decision on the appointment of Rodney Jose – who they say was implicated in the murder of Robert Chasowa in 2011- as Acting Inspector General of Police within 10 days. “In the absence of completion of investigations into Chasowa’s murder, such an appointment is an insult to the family of Chasowa and the general public who continue to seek justice on the matter. We demand Parliament to reject such an appointment if brought before it for approval.”
The CSOs say they have a clear monitoring and evaluation framework to track the implementation of the 10 demands and other raised concerns.
“At the expiration of each timeline of the 10 demands, the activists, concerned citizens and Malawians of good will shall convene to evaluate your progress on implementation of the demands and concerns, and in cases where you have not done so, the grouping shall resolve to implementing Plan B on each of the timelines to ensure that all the demands are addressed.
“You can be rest assured therefore Your Excellency Sir that the Citizens shall hold a series of post-April 27 demonstrations activities –if you decide to ignore the 10 demands petition- until all the issues are addressed,” reads the petition seen by our reporters.
The CSOs said at the expiration of 90 days, they shall reconvene to evaluate the President’s performance in relation to addressing their concerns and demands as well as the general state of governance in the country.
“In the event that we find your leadership lacking, untrustworthy and incompetent in addressing these challenges and demands, we the concerned citizens, activists and all Malawians of goodwill shall have no choice but to ask you to immediately step down as President of Malawi in line with the principle of social contract as ably expounded in the Constitution (Section 12[c]),” the CSOs have asserted.
It continued: “Indeed, as rightly put in the 2014 DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] manifesto that no person in Malawi should ever believe that Malawi is his or her personal property.”
The CSOs said they believe that their petition will be given the attention, priority it deserves and that “this time around we will not take excuses for answers but solutions to our demands.”