A group of civil society organisations held press briefing today in Lilongwe to speak on the meeting by one Mr. Bon Kalindo, and the Cabinet Ministers, which is reported to have taken place on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 in Lilongwe.
CSO leaders, Mr. Phunziro Mvula and Mr. Syvester Namiwa attended the physical meeting while Mr. Oliver Nakoma, Mr. Steve Chimwaza and Mr. Gomezgani Nkhoma attended the briefing through online (virtual) platforms.
Below is the full joint press statement titled: UNITED IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY AND CIVIC SPACE
Lilongwe, Wednesday, December 1, 2021
UNITED IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY AND CIVIC SPACE
We, the Human Rights Activists, comprising the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI); the Social Revolution Movement (SRM); the Human Rights Ambassadors (HRA); the Forum for Democracy and Rights Defenders (FDRD); and the Mzuzu Youth Caucus; hereby distance ourselves from the purported meeting by one Mr. Bon Kalindo, and the Cabinet Ministers, which is reported to have taken place on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 in Lilongwe.
We would like to categorically put it that the said meeting was between the government and Mr. Kalindo, and not organizations that have been conducting demonstrations in the country.
Simply put, what happened yesterday is total betrayal to Malawians, and an insult to their intelligence, if the outcome of the meeting is anything to go by.
It is against this background that we are assuring all concerned Malawians that we will not relent on our pursuit for justice, and ensuring that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance government should announce an economic recovery plan with a timeframe and clearly spelt out measures to cushion the marginalized and the underprivileged, and give a clear road map to fulfil all his campaign promises made prior to the court sanctioned June 23, 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections. Failure to do this is a catalyst for endless nationwide demonstrations.
Apart from fixing the economy, Malawians would like government to immediately do the following;
1. Maintain the prices of fertilizer at MK4, 500 as promised
2. Scrap off the punitive taxes on essential services and goods
3. Act on theft of public funds by top government officials
4. Create the much touted one million jobs for the youth
5. Implement the MK15, 000 monthly allowance to those aged 65 and above
6. Lower the tollgate fees to MK500 for small vehicles, and no more than MK5,000 for the heavy goods vehicles
7. Revise the recent water and electricity tariffs
8. Remove the generators at ESCOM
9. Implement the cheaper passports and the drivers’ licenses that do not expire
10. Trim the cabinet and fire all the advisors
11. Review draconian laws (Labour Relations Act)
12. Report on MK17.5 Billion COVID Funds
Meanwhile, we are giving government 7 (seven) days to announce the economic recovery plan as indicated above, in order to contain the escalating cost of living. Failure to do so, will call for a total shut down demonstrations in all the 28 districts of the country.
PHUNZIRO MVULA – The Social Revolution Movement (0999482170)
OLIVER NAKOMA – Forum for Democracy and Rights Defenders (0999321488)
STEVE CHIMWAZA – The Human Rights Ambassadors (0992333222)
GOMEZGANI NKHOMA – The Mzuzu Youth Caucus (0884380894)
SYLVESTER NAMIWA – The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (0993462700)