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Outline plan or face demonstrations, HRDC tells government

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Gospel Kazako

Human rights activists have given the Tonse-led government 30 days to outline its plan on how to deal with a myriad economic hardships Malawians are facing or face nationwide demonstrations.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition HRDC) has said government’s failure to make available the road map will leave them with no option but hold nationwide demonstrations dubbed “Pa Ground Sipali Bwino demonstrations”.

In its statement titled “Unmasking Tonse Alliance Government’s DNA of undemocratic tendencies: A call for action”, the grouping has pointed out that the Tonse Alliance-led government is following the footsteps of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration that thrived on corruption, nepotism, cronyism and blatant abuse of law, among many atrocities.

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“With a full dose of goodwill from Malawians, the Tonse Alliance—standing on a platform of a promise to revolutionise the country’s rotten governance system soiled by corruption that resulted in underdevelopment and impoverishment of citizens for over five decades, was given a five-year mandate to govern.

“Malawians were upbeat to usher in a new dawn of administration that had pledged to carry out government business differently,” reads the statement, signed by chairperson Gift Trapence.

The rights body further said the Tonse government has failed to demonstrate how it intends to take Malawians to the promised biblical Canaan that was synonymous with flowing milk and honey.

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“We are watching as the government slowly begins to crackdown on voices of dissent which is a bad sign on governance; we are reminding the Tonse government that this country is run by democratic principles where diversity of opinion is allowed,” reads the statement in part

In its 8-page statement, the group has also warned government not to take Malawians for granted and implement its promises, stressing that public trust is waning because of economic hardships.

On Public Sector Reforms, HRDC has asked government to remove the veil of secrecy and make available the contents of Public Sector reforms report that was submitted by the vice President earlier this year.

On the Rule of Law, HRDC has accused Tonse government of not living to expectations of majority of Malawians. The rights body says corruption continue to go unabated under the watch of the Tonse leadership.

HRDC raises issues with the administration lack of willingness to decisively tackle corruption as shown failure to explain spending of the K17 billion Covid funds, failure to deal with red flags in the Central Medical Stores (CMST) procurement procedures were flouted” further reads the statement and failure to act on allegations of fraud at the Malawi Police Service (MPS).

When contacted for comment, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako said government will respond at an appropriate time.

“We have noted the press release from the HRDC with a dose of obliged duty to respond. We will be responding within the 30 days that they have requested. Meanwhile, we are preoccupied with other equally pressing issues such as hunting for Covid vaccines, planning for AIP…” Kazako said.

HRDC has since called upon Malawians to be vigilant in defending their hard worn freedom and democracy by guarding against any undemocratic tendencies.

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