As the conference convened by the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) drew to an end in Blantyre on Thursday, the government continued to claim civil society leaders were trying to topple the current regime.
But the government confesses Malawians have the right to discuss issues happening in their country.
At a press conference in Lilongwe, Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati insisted some utterances at Pac conference vindicated suspicions that the conference wanted to find means and ways of getting rid of the Mutharika administration.
“Government is worried with sentiments coming from the Pac conference,” she said.
Kaliati said calls for “urgent action” and give the government “red card” — a football term referring to dismissal of a player who has committed a serious foul —vindicated the regime change plots were at play and she warned the government would not tolerate it.
“We need to set certain records straight. We will not stay idle while people drag this country into chaos and anarchy. We have an elected government in this country; even Bishop Tengatenga (Pac conference organising chairperson) recognised that in his speech. Inciting people to rise up against the government is against principles of democracy.
“We hear some of the speakers … were inciting people to revolt. They even made an analogy to football where a player who is committing a foul is shown a red card. Whenever the moderator of the conference Bishop Mtumbuka asked a question people were making references to the red card. Some called for action now; what does that mean? Isn’t that a call for rebellion? What could have happened had we decided to attend the conference?” she queried.
Kaliati later confessed the government took the approach it did on the Pac conference because it was “being castigated” and not necessarily that someone wanted to stage a coup.
“It’s not wrong for people to assemble and discuss their country. But why should they be castigating the leadership? The issue of whether there is a coup or not should be left to the people,” she said.
The government was invited to the conference but it turned down the invitation.