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CSOs want Saulos Chilima to receive petition

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Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that are organising anti-government demonstrations slated for April 27 have suggested that Vice-President Saulos Chilima should receive their petition on behalf of President Peter Mutharika.

The demonstrations are being organised to stop the government from spending K4 billion promised to lawmakers and also force Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa to resign.

One of the organisers, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation Executive Director Timothy Mtambo, said they had presented the option during a meeting with police officials in Lilongwe.

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The law-enforcers told CSO leaders that it was not possible to present the petition at State House for security reasons.

Mtambo said, since Chilima is part of the government system and Mutharika’s deputy, the impact will be the same if he receives the petition on behalf of the President.

“What we are saying is that petitions delivered to the President through the civic offices do not seem to be taken seriously. That is why we want a senior official to receive this one. We also believe that we can deliver the petition to the Office of the President and Cabinet, where the President will receive it.

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“However, if this too is not good for them, then the Vice President should receive it…,” he said.

Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi, said he could not say anything on the CSOs’ suggestion because the government has nothing to do with the demonstrations.

“Let them say whatever they want. But I don’t want to say anything on this. The government is not party to these demonstrations; as such, I cannot comment on what they are saying,” Dausi said.

Mtambo also disclosed that police have disapproved the initial route of the protests in Lilongwe.

Organisers of the demonstrations wanted to march from the Community Centre Ground, through Mchesi Township, to other places.

The demonstrations are also expected to take place in Karonga, Mzuzu, Blantyre and Zomba.

The human rights activist has also urged the police to investigate a distorted pro-demonstration jingle which is encouraging Malawians to come out on April 27 with weapons with which to destroy lives and property and to defend themselves.

“This is very worrying,” Mtambo said.

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