Leaders of the April 27 civil society organisations (CSOs) nationwide protests are set to meet this week to map the way forward following failure by President Peter Mutharika to start addressing issues raised in their petition.

In particular, the CSOs want to discuss the 10-day ultimatum to reverse his decision on the appointment of acting Inspector General (IG) of Police Rodney Jose, which Mutharika has defied. The period elapsed last Friday, May 11 2018.

Two of the key leaders—Gift Trapence and Timothy Mtambo—confirmed the meeting in separate interviews on Sunday with the Nation Newspaper.

But special adviser to the President on civil society and non-government organisations (NGOs) Mavuto Bamusi has faulted the CSOs leaders for “rushing to make conclusions”.

There were different time frame given on different issues but, overall, the CSOs gave Mutharika a 90-day ultimatum to address all the challenges in the 10-point petition, which will expire on August 28 2018.

On the issue of the acting Police IG, the CSOs protested his appointment because of his alleged human rights violation record.

Jose replaced Lexten Kachama in an acting capacity but the CSOs questioned the move after 2012 Commission of Enquiry Report findings implicated him as one of the suspects in the brutal death of a University of Malawi student Robert Chasowa.

Trapence, who is executive director of Centre for Development of People (Cedep), said while they were looking forward to the President’s acknowledgment, they were disappointed to note that instead he lambasted them during his State of Nation Address (Sona) on May 4.

“That was unfortunate. We are meeting this week to chart the way forward,” he said.

On his part, Mtambo, executive director of Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR), said government was not serious about serving Malawians.

He said: “We are meeting tomorrow [today] to map the way forward on ultimatums that have expired and government will hear from us…If they think they are going to throw our petition into a dustbin then they are in for a big shock.”

But Bamusi responded: “They are too quick to make conclusions. There is action, concrete action that has actually been taken but the details cannot be divulged now. The Chief Secretary to Government will shortly say that.”

Other ultimatums include 30 days for Mutharika to cancel payment of MK4 Billion, 40 days for re-tabling and passing of Electoral Reforms Bills, and 75 days for him to improve public service delivery. n

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