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Government calls for dialogue on demos

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has written Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), inviting the grouping to a round table.

HRDC is organising nationwide demonstrations slated for this Friday.

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According to the letter, addressed to Mtambo, Principal Secretary in the OPC, Cliff Chiunda, is inviting the human rights defenders to a dialogue, following up on the engagement the government initiated with civil society organisations (CSOs).

“Kindly be informed that government has initiated the roundtable dialogue meeting [sic] which is intended to offer additional accountability and greater clarification on government response of July 18 [2018]. The dialogue meeting will also provide an opportunity for continued engagement on any other matter of national interest,” reads part of the letter.

According to Chiunda, parties to the dialogue would further discuss issues related to the planned September 21 demonstrations.

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Chiunda indicates that the meeting is scheduled for today, September 18

However, HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, Monday said although they would attend the meeting, the request has come too late as preparations for the demonstrations are at an advanced stage.

“I hope the call for dialogue is not just manipulative and [that they are] not trying to stop our planned demonstrations. Dialogue or no dialogue, the demonstrations are on,” Mtambo said.

He has since demanded that the dialogue should be done in the presence of the media so that Malawians should have first-hand information on the same.

By the time we were going to press, our efforts to speak to Chiunda had proved futile as we could not reach him on his mobile phone.

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