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HRDC calls off anti-government demonstrations

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The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has announced the cancellation of demonstrations which were scheduled to take place next Wednesday, stating that government has addressed some of their demands.

At a press conference in Lilongwe yesterday, one of the coalition’s members, Michael Kaiyatsa, cited the availability of fuel and the firing of National Oil Company of Malawi Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Helen Buluma, as the key reasons for their decision.

Kaiyatsa has, however, asked government to come out clear on the measures put in place to ensure sustained availability of fuel in the country.

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“Time and again, we have noted that the government has been a spectator during times of crisis, perhaps hoping that the problems will go away on their own,” Kaiyatsa said.

HRDC had previously demanded that government should fix the fuel problem within 21 days, specifically stating that they did not want the problem to go beyond November 29, 2022.

Meanwhile, the coalition has asked relevant authorities to take action against the people involved in the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) scandal, where government ended up paying K750 million to a food short in the United Kingdom, as well as investigate and prosecute all culprits.

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“We are closely monitoring the situation. If we feel government is slackening in addressing some of the concerns Malawians are raising, we will address the nation on our way forward,” Kaiyatsa said.

Minister of Information Gospel Kazako described as a good development HRDC’s “assessment” that government had managed to address the concerns the human rights body had raised.

“The issues that HRDC has accepted are sorted; they have been done and implemented by this government. It is a process which is in line with our plans. We will continue doing so,” Kazako said.

When announcing that it would mobilise Malawians onto the country’s streets, HRDC indicated it had allowed the Tonse Alliance administration time to address problems Malawians were facing but that two years were now enough.

However, some observers argue that the human rights group is being too soft on the current administration.

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