In yet another sheer caricature of events, representatives from a pool of Civil society organizations (CSOs) and faith based organizations on Thursday organized a media briefing voicing out concerns regarding political, social-economic issues rocking the nation. This comes against the background of the petition delivered on the 20th July in which the CSOs allegedly petitioned the President on a number of issues with governance and human rights issues amongst them.
The CSOs expressed a litany of concerns that need to e addressed and also those culminating from 20th July mass demonstrations and their aftermath, imminent elements of executive arrogance such as the poor handling of Local government elections, passing of unpopular bills (Flag change, Pension, Injunctions, Police act) by the majority of DPP MPs that are just bent on appeasing their executive masters but also the stooping on delivery of public service.
Taking turns in the briefing, National Coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice & Peace (CCJP) Chris Chisoni, articulated on the need for dialogue, pointing out that violence and intimidation is not key in solving these issues citing incidents where Civil rights activists are given death threats but also singling out of activists as perpetrators of violence in political podiums. He further stressed that the CSOs advocating for good governance and human rights should not be thought of as splinter groups having personal vendettas against the government, rather a positive section of masses with the aim of safeguarding the long fought freedom and democracy which is under threat, arguing that dialogue is essential and that leaders must pursue justice by reasoning together in a sober manner.
Adding her voice to the briefing Martha Kwataine fro MEHN expressed worry with statements uttered by ‘some leaders’ as they are thought to be mere lip service ridicule, “one day they talk about dialogue, the next the tell us to go to hell”, she was quoted.
Most of the speakers also treaded on the just ended mass demonstrations and their aftermath, expressing worry with how the Police handled and conducted themselves during the demonstrations with regard to events culminating from the chaos and also their double standard who never reacted to the DPP youth militias that were brandishing machetes and pangas in the streets inducing fear amongst the citizenry on the eve of demonstrations and their swift reaction to the demonstrators on the day of demonstrations.
Commenting on the rationale of the briefing, Executive Director for the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education Benedicto Kondowe, appealed to government to resort to dialogue but also preach messages of hope and sincerity not teasing and ridiculing statements from political podiums that ignite anger amongst Malawians.
In conclusion, Chisoni expressed that the CSO leaders are not sell-outs and that more and more dialogue is key to sustainable development regarding the socio-economic and political stalemates.
Organizations represented at the briefing included MEHN, CCJP, Centre for Social Concern, CSCQBE and it was held at the Cresta Hotel.