Namiwa and Mvula (from left)

By Thandie Chadzandiyani

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s civil rights groups on Wednesday, December 3, 2021 disowned former UTM youth director Bon Kalindo’s meeting with President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse government ministers for talks describing the meet as as total betrayal and an insult to Malawians.

The civil rights groups told the news conference in the capital Lilongwe that Kalindo went to the meeting on his own without the groupings blessings.

The groupings including Sylvester Namiwa’s Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI); Phunziro Mvula of the Social Revolution Movement (SRM); Steve Chimwaza from Human Rights Ambassadors (HRA); Oliver Nakoma from the Forum for Democracy and Rights Defenders (FDRD); and Gomezgani Nkhoma the Mzuzu Youth Caucus.

The development comes barely hours after Kalindo in his capacity as leader of anti-government protests in Malawi held a meeting with government ministers where the government agreed to reduce toll gate fees.

“We would like to categorically put it that the said meeting was between the government and Mr. Kalindo, and not organizations that have been conducting demonstrations in the country.

“Simply put, what happened yesterday is total betrayal to Malawians, and an insult to their intelligence, if the outcome of the meeting is anything to go by,” reads part of the joint statement.

Namiwa said Malawians who have been attending anti-government protests want several issues to be resolved, and not only the issue of toll gates which was the only positive outcome from the meeting.

He observed that Kalindo should have invited other activists to attend the meeting so that other issues such as fertilizer prices, one million jobs, water tariffs, corruption and punitive taxes should have been addressed during the meeting.

“But what happened yesterday is total betrayal because the resolution made insinuates that people who took to the streets were only demanding a reduction in toll gate fees,” said Namiwa.

Phunziro Mvula chipped in saying the grouping agreed to work together with Kalindo but are surprised that he decided to go to the meeting without the other activists.

Meanwhile, the activists have declared that they will not relent in their pursuit for justice, and ensuring that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance government to announce an economic recovery plan with a time-frame and clearly spelt out measures.

“Meanwhile, we are giving government 7 (seven) days to announce the economic recovery plan as indicated above, in order to contain the escalating cost of living. Failure to do so, will call for a total shut down demonstrations in all the 28 districts of the country,” the activists said in their statement.

The groupings demand President Chakwera’s Tonse to fix the following;

  1. Maintain the prices of fertilizer at MK4, 500 as promised
  2. Scrap off the punitive taxes on essential services and goods
  3. Act on theft of public funds by top government officials
  4. Create the much touted one million jobs for the youth
  5. Implement the MK15, 000 monthly allowance to those aged 65 and above
  6. Lower the tollgate fees to MK500 for small vehicles, and no more than MK5,000 for the heavy goods vehicles
  7. Revise the recent water and electricity tariffs
  8. Remove the generators at ESCOM
  9. Implement the cheaper passports and the drivers’ licenses that do not expire
  10. Trim the cabinet and fire all the advisors
  11. Review draconian laws (Labour Relations Act)
  12. Report on MK17.5 Billion COVID Funds

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