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Public Affairs Committee endorses CSOs’ demonstrations

Public Affairs Committee (Pac), the influential quasi-religious organisation, has thrown its weight behind the anti-government protests which Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) plan to hold on the 27th of this month.

Among other issues, the demonstrations are aimed at registering displeasure at government’s apparent failure to uphold principles of good governance and continued corruption, according to the organisers.

“Members noted that the issues of failure to implement electoral reforms, rampant corruption, economic decline that is hindering transformation of livelihoods, lack of transparency and accountability on the issue of K4 billion and general lack of direction of our nation remain serious causes of concern,” reads part of the statement signed by Pac Board Chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota and Publicity Secretary Father Peter Mulomole.

Addressing the press in Lilongwe Wednesday, Chingota said during a meeting that they held on Monday in Lilongwe, they agreed to re-endorse the demonstrations given that it is a democratic right of every Malawian.

Chingota read out a statement at the briefing where he also disclosed that Pac will provide to CSOs materials such as reflectors and placards that were prepared for the postponed December 2017 demonstrations.

Chingota also said Pac decided to support the demonstrations to ensure that government stops abusing its powers with impunity “and [to] reverse a culture of corruption associated with the current regime”.

The religious leaders’ body has since called on Malawians to peacefully demonstrate in a bid to demand transformative leadership.

Responding to questions from journalists, Mulomole said the reservations against government are beyond the rejected electoral reforms and the K4 billion which was initially set to be disbursed to 86 Members of Parliament (MPs) before it was later agreed that it should be given to all the 193 MPs in the House.

“There are several problems which must not be left to continue. This government believes they can do anything and get away with it as long as they are in government. So it is about impunity, it is about Executive arrogance.

“This culture of impunity and Executive arrogance has to stop. The power belongs to the people and the people must react if elected authorities are abusing such power,” Mulomole said.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the demonstrations insist that President Peter Mutharika should personally receive the petition despite Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, having rubbished the demand, saying the President is not party to the protests.

In an earlier interview, government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, also challenged the CSOs to say whatever they want regarding the protests, stating the government will not say anything.

The CSOs want Vice- President Saulos Chilima to receive their petition at the Office of the President and Cabinet at Capital Hill if Mutharika will not receive it, saying their option of a top official comes after noting that previous petitions delivered at civic offices have been given little attention.

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