Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have thrown their weight behind anti-quota system demonstrations scheduled for today in five Northern Region districts.
The demonstrations, led by Quota Must Fall Movement, wants 2019 Primary School Leaving Certificate of Education examination (PSLCE) results nullified and abolishment of quota—a system used in the selection of students to public schools.
MCP secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, Wednesday said they were endorsing the demonstrations, saying they, too, called for the nullification of the standard eight results by arguing that the selection favoured students from the Southern Region.
“As long as the demonstrations are within the armpits of the Constitution of Republic of Malawi, we [MCP] are endorsing the demonstrations. We [MCP] never withdrew our statement that the standard eight results should be nullified and we still stand by it. What we said earlier is in tandem with what these people are fighting for,” he said.
HRDC Northern Region Coordinator, Happy Mhango, said they believe that quota system does not represent any tenancy of human rights.
“In this view, we fully support the anti-quota demonstrations and HRDC will participate in them just like any other Malawian of good will,” he said.
Coordinator of the movement, Charles Kajoloweka, who is also Youth and Society (Yas) Executive Director, said the resolution to hold the demonstrations follow the movement’s engagement with the Ministry of Education and Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) officials on August 30 2019 which bore no solutions.
“We met officials from the ministry in Lilongwe together with officials from Maneb and presented our issue. So what we are waiting for from them is when are they are nullifying the results and when are they abolishing quota system? If they do not answer these questions, we shall be having a series of the demonstrations until our demands are met,” he said.
But Education Minister, William Susuwele Banda, said he was surprised that the movement had decided to hold demonstrations when, during their previous engagement, they agreed that a committee should be set up involving the two sides to see how best they could resolve the matter.
“We had agreed that there would be another meeting but what we needed was to set up a committee which would address the issues at hand. So, I have no idea why they have decided to shift from what we agreed upon,” he said.
In Mzuzu, the demonstrations are scheduled start from Katoto Secondary School Ground to Mzuzu Civic Offices where a petition will be delivered to government officials.
Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive Officer, McCloud Kadam’manja, said they convened a planning meeting where officials from Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service and organisers of the demonstrators deliberated on a number of issues including security.