Protesters in Lilongwe have demanded President Lazarus Chakwera to apologise to Malawians over his government’s failure to buy necessary medical equipment during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic yet K1 billion meant for the pandemic was left idle.
They made the demand in a petition presented to authorities after demonstration organized by the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) in Lilongwe today.
According to CDEDI, Chakwera should apologise because the country had K1 Billion Malawi Kwacha of taxpayer’s money lying idle in government’s coffers, at a time when people were dying due to lack of oxygen in the country’s major referral hospitals, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petition demands the Tonse Alliance Government to scrape off the 16.5 percent VAT on cooking oil.
“President Chakwera should institute a team that should review the tax policies on essential products and services, in a bid to come up with tax laws that create an enabling environment for the local industry to flourish. The unjustifiable levies on fuel must be scrapped off from the pump prices. Government should remove taxes from essential services such as water and electricity,” the organization said.
On data charges, CDEDI said the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) should stop shielding the mobile phone operators who are charging exorbitantly for mobile phone calls and data.
“In the same vein, the communications regulator should strictly monitor the quality of services being rendered by such operators, which are mostly substandard,” said the organization.
There is also a demand for Chakwera to exonerate himself, some of his cabinet ministers and top State House officials, from accusations bordering on nepotism and favouritism, which were levelled against him by a former parliamentarian from Kasungu district, Hon. Alex Major of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Namiwa said if their grievances are not addressed, they will conduct more mass demonstrations.
Principal Administration Officer for Lilongwe City Council Hudson Kuphanga received the petition. Kuphanga thanked the protesters for exercising their rights through demonstrations without also breaking people’s property. He assured the protesters that the petition will be presented to Office of the president and Cabinet today.