Leaders of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) on Saturday, 23 March 2019, came out of their meeting deeply embarrassed as their own members shot down the proposed anti-government demonstrations that were scheduled to March 27, 2019.
HRDC had been planning for the demonstrations since January and the meeting today was aimed at putting the final touches to the preparations. It turned out to be a day when the demonstrations would be subjected to a crushing defeat before they happened.
A debate ensued on the relevance of the demonstrations such that final decision had to be reached through a vote.
At the end, of the 17 members that attended the meeting, 14 rejected the demos, with Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence and Charles Kajoloweka the only ones who were for the protests.
The 14 others dubbed the anti-government demonstrations as an act of cowardice.
This statement is further evidence of the capture of HRDC by the opposition who have been using the coalition to fight the DPP administration as they afraid to face the ruling party at the polls.
However, to save the leaders from this embarrassing defeat, the HRDC members resolved to release a statement announcing the cancellation of the demonstrations on the grounds that some Malawians that should have participated in the protests have been affected by the recent floods in the country.
But since the floods hit, killing 56 people in the process, none in the HRDC has supported the victims in any way.
The collapse of the demonstrations should embarrass the opposition who have been among the funders of the anti-government protests which HRDC has been organizing.
But among the casualties of this definitive defeat is a Danish organization Dan Church Aid which recently funded HRDC in a workhop to strategize on the demonstrations meant to destabilise the country and agitate for the removal of a democratically-elected government.
Dan Church Aid and Human Rights Defenders Coalition led by Timothy Mtambo held the workshop at Mponela in Dowa between March 11 and 13, 2019.
The workshop was attended by people in civil society most of whom were planners of the demonstrations.
According to the letter of invitation to the participants dated 6 March 2019, the workshop was on the subject of “safety and security” of human rights defenders.
At the end of the workshop, Dan Church Aid and HRDC distributed to each participant a copy of a book titled ‘Blue Print for Revolution: How to use Rice Pudding, Lego Men and other non-violent techniques to galvnize communities, overthrow dictators or simply change the world’.
The book was authored by a Serbian political activist, Sroda Popovic, who led demonstrations that toppled Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.