The Mzuzu City Council (MCC) on Saturday assigned a security guard to receive a petition from women marching against gender based violence.
The Young Feminist Network (YFN) which organized the protests expressed disappointment over council officials’ snub.
Demonstrations started well at Katoto ground passing through town road.
At the Mzuzu council offices, the petitioners found the security guard Golden Msowoya waiting to receive their petition.
“I am a security guard here at the city council offices, I was assigned to receive the petition from the women who are marching today,” Msowoya said.
Zaithwa Milanzi, one of the organisers, expressed disappointment over the council officials’ failure to show up.
“We wrote them that we are having a peaceful demonstrations today, to our surprise we found all offices closed and no Council official present here.
“We are disappointed, why leaving a watchman to receive the petition on their behalf, does the council care about all gender based violence case going on in the country?” she asked.
Commenting on the matter, Mzuzu council spokesperson McDonald Gondwe said the council wrote the group to not go on with the demonstrations.
“I hope the officer was trying to save the situation because he was the only MCC officer available when the women, girls and other stakeholders came to deliver its petition to the Council, I hope the guy had no choice because the grouping was already within Civic Offices.
“This march was not granted permission by the council on the premises that their letter had too short notice and today was not convenient for the march. The organizers were informed of this decision (no authority given for the march), and the Police were also informed that as Council we did not grant permission. Surprisingly, today they still went ahead with their march, at the time they reached the Civic there was no Officer instead they gave it to a guard. The point is the organizers knew there was no permission how did they expect to find an Officer? Why couldn’t they just deliver their petition instead on Monday,” Gondwe said.
However, MCC Chief Executive officer Mcloud Kadammanja said the director of administration was supposed to assign a person to receive the petition.
The demonstrations against gender based violence were also held in Lilongwe and Blantyre.
Protesters called for action in recent cases of abused against women including the Msundwe rapes, the case of a woman who was recently undressed in the streets of Blantyre and the case of a woman who was beaten up by fellow women in Mzuzu.