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Day of Rage

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SHOW TIME— Some of the protestors in action

Malawians on Friday took a bold step in safeguarding the country’s hard won democracy when they took to the streets across the country and staged peaceful demonstrations calling for the resignation of finance minister Goodall Gondwe and Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa.

Lilongwe was the epicentre of the protests with leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera joining the many that thought enough is enough and want impunity by the current government to end.

Even plans by the Malawi Police Service to stop protesters in the capital city, Lilongwe from presenting their petition at the Capital Hill main entrance proved futile as they made their way to the government seat, having rejected a proposal to present their outline at the Lilongwe Civic Offices.

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The highly anticipated demonstrations finally proved a point that Malawians are no longer afraid of threats, with Lilongwe residents braving the heavy presence of heavily armed police and soldiers who came in a show of force.

Protesters started off from Mchesi Primary School heading towards Kamuzu Central Hospital round-about, before turning to the road that goes to Parliament Building at the City Centre.

Disagreements between protesters and the law enforcers, however, erupted minutes after the marchers took the Presidential Way as police had already blocked the

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road around the south entrance to the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC), with an aim of re-directing protesters to city council offices.

But one of the organisers, Gift Trapence pointed out that the agreement with the Principal Secretary for Administration at the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Cliff Chiunda was that they were to deliver the petition at the Capital Hill main gate, stressing that they would not take anything else.

Trapence then engaged MPS senior officials, including Deputy Inspector General responsible for operations, Duncan Mwapasa for close to 30 minutes before the two sides signed an agreement, which saw police paving way for the journey to Capital Hill.

At the Capital Hill, armed police officers also formed a human barricade that prevented the protesters from getting any close to the main gate.

Still, Chiunda moved out of the OPC to the main entrance and received the petition from Trapence and Timothy Mtambo on behalf of President Peter Mutharika, the intended recipient of the issues raised in the petition.

Chiunda, who was accompanied by presidential adviser on Non- Governmental Organisations Mabvuto Bamusi among others, assured the protesters that he will deliver the petition to the relevant recipient.

Speaking to the media thereafter, Trapence said they are happy to have finally sent home the message.

“There are some people who tried to use every kind of propaganda to frustrate us but we have managed to deliver our grievances and we expect the President to respond to them,” Trapence said.

Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera, who had joined the protesters from Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary to around Parliament roundabout, said he was part of the demonstrations as an individual Malawian and in solidarity with other struggling Malawians.

Apart from the disagreements on where to deliver the petition, no known incident of violence was recorded and the organisers kept on reminding the marchers of the need to observe peace throughout demonstrations.

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