Demonstrations against poor and exorbitant telecommunication services, which were scheduled for today, have been moved to Thursday after the Inspector General (IG) of Police Lexten Kachama told the protestors to defer the action to pave way for the Malawi Investment Forum underway in Lilongwe.
One of the demonstrations organisers’ Billy Mayaya yesterday confirmed the development, saying Kachama had told them that the Malawi Police Service would not be able to provide security for both the forum participants and protestors.
“The IG has told us that the police service does not have enough police officers to escort us and provide security to the investment forum delegates at the same time. He, therefore, asked us to shift the protests to another day. So, we have taken note of his request and we have shifted the demonstrations to this coming Thursday,” Mayaya said.
National Police spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo asked for more time to consult her boss but could not pick our calls later while Kachama referred us back to Manjolo.
In an earlier interview, Mayaya said before presenting their petition to representatives of Airtel and TNM at Lilongwe Civic Offices, the protestors are expected to pass through Parliament where another petition against the proposed Electronic Transactions Bill will be delivered.
“There is a general outcry that these services are becoming prohibitive in terms of costs, network availability and quality assurance. Mobile services in Malawi are the highest in the region and we want to demand answers.
“Demonstrators will congregate around Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout and march to Parliament where a petition will be delivered to protest against the Electronic Transactions Bill which will impede our freedoms of engagement on electronic media. We feel it is censorship couched as something else,” he said.
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