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CSO demonstrations today

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Demonstrations organised by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) aimed at petitioning President Peter Mutharika to deal with corruption at the highest level will be held today in Lilongwe City.

The protests have been organised by the Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) led by Gift Trapence, activists Billy Mayaya and McDonald Sembereka.

The CSOs say they are concerned with what they call “lack of willingness” on the part of government to implement recommendations by inquiries into the dubious purchase of maize from Zambia among others.

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Mayaya said on Wednesday in an interview that they are demanding transparency, accountability and an end to high levels of impunity that is “uncalled” for in a democratic dispensation.

“We want to speak against corruption. The firing of [former minister of agriculture George] Chaponda is just a tip of the iceberg but we want to go deeper. We want government to be more vigilant in dealing with corruption, there are some corrupt allegations against some ministers which have not been tackled. So we want corruption to be dealt with at the highest level,” Mayaya said.

According to Mayaya, the protesters will assemble at Area 18 Roundabout before marching to the City Centre Roundabout where they will make a u-turn to Parliament Roundabout.

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They will then deliver the petition to Speaker of the National Assembly, Richard Msowoya.

“We have received notifications from both the police and the Lilongwe City Council giving a nod to the demonstrations. So, come Thursday [today], we will be on the street,” he said

Correspondence from Lilongwe City Council Chief Executive Officer, Moza Zeleza, indicates that a meeting with the demonstrators resolved that the demonstrations will commence from 9 o’clock in the morning to 12 noon.

“All parties concerned shall duly communicate these resolutions to everyone involved in the implementation of planned demonstrations and these resolutions shall be binding to all parties concerned,” reads a statement from Zeleza.

It adds that it was agreed that the police will provide the required security, maintain peace and order and ensure strict observance of the law.

The organisers are also expected to provide 21 marshals who will put on white T-shirts and work together with the police while the rest of the demonstrators will put on red attire for easy identification.

A joint parliamentary committee which investigated the maize saga recommended, among others, that the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Board should start disciplinary proceedings against senior managers who were involved in the maize procurement deal from Zambia.

It also recommended a review of the Public Procurement Act to provide the pre-procurement approval by the Secretary to the Treasury and the Attorney General for procurements by parastatals and state owned companies beyond certain thresholds.

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