Mutharika snubs protesters

Peter Mutharika

Malawi President, Peter Mutharika did not turn up to receive a petition from protesters at Capital Hill in Lilongwe today.

The protesters led by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) instead presented their petition to Lilongwe City Council (LCC) Chief Executive Officer Moza Zeleza.

This followed a march from Lilongwe Community Ground to Capital Hill.

Speaking after presenting the petition, one of the organizers, Timothy Mtambo, said what Mutharika did by not receiving their petition has clearly shown that he is an unconcerned leader and does not pay attention to the people who put him in the position.

The activist therefore told Mutharika not to blame anyone in future if Malawians turn their back on him during elections.

Chakwera (in red) captured during the demonstrations

When asked why they accepted to hand the petition to Zeleza instead of Mutharika, Mtambo said that they did that to show that they were conducting peaceful demonstrations.

“Although we have failed to present our petition to President Peter Mutharika, we still know that it will reach him.

“We are peaceful Malawians, but it does not mean that we should be taken for granted. If he fails what we have asked him to do, then we will demonstrate again and he will receive our petition,” he said.

The CSOs have given Mutharika 90 days to answer their concerns saying if he fails they will demonstrate again.

Some of the demands in the petition include ensuring independence of Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and the Anti-Corruption Bureau; tabling of electoral reforms, ending blackouts, dealing with attacks on persons with albinism and ending shortage of medicine in hospitals.

In an interview, vice chairperson of Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Gift Trapence, said they will ask Members of Parliament to impeach Mutharika if he fails to respond to their concerns.

Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera joined the protesters and asked Malawians to reject leadership which is full of corruption and theft.

The demonstrations were conducted in a peaceful manner and no injuries or damage of property has been reported.

The theme of the protests was “restoring our destiny”.