State President Peter Mutharika has vowed not to bow down to a 30 day-ultimatum given by civil society organisations (CSOs) to respond to the seven governance issues the organisations highlighted in a petition last week.
The CSOs, led by human rights activist Billy Mayaya, delivered the petition to government on Tuesday through Lilongwe City Council Director of Administration Dyson Milanzie at civic offices.
Among others, the CSOs are demanding that basic medical supplies and drugs be supplied to all hospitals in order to serve patients effectively and efficiently; increase financial allocation to the health sector and stop spending on petty foreign travel with huge entourages.
“We will not honour the 30-day ultimatum. We will be governing Malawi looking at what we promised in the manifesto. We will sometimes be leaving the manifesto and follow what majority Malawians want, not what people who are paid to go into the streets to say we are representing Malawians when in fact they are representing a master who is bankrolling such activities,” said Mutharika through his Press Secretary Gerald Viola.
Viola said Mutharika will not allow his government to be dictated by CSOs.
In a separate interview on Wednesday, Special Adviser on Non Governmental Organisations, Mavuto Bamusi said the ultimatum attempts to put government under panic.
“Most importantly, I think this tendency to issue ultimatum does not help matters. It simply creates unnecessary tension between the civil society and the government that is supposed to provide responses.
“So providing attention to the issues yes, because the President has always been willing to engage and interact with civil society but issuing an ultimatum, then that’s a different issue altogether and that’s not the best way to go,” said Bamusi.
He said some of the issues raised in the petition were already answered a week ago by seven Cabinet ministers at a press conference which the CSOs leaders deliberately ignored.
Bamusi said the country can develop if both CSOs and government engaged each other in dialogue rather than being confrontational.
During the week, two groups of CSOs petitioned government through the same civic offices.
The other group was a pro-government march led by activist Luther Mambala while the other group was led by Mayaya.
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