Civil Society Organizations in the country say President Bingu wa Mutharika and his government need to know that the role of CSOs is indispensable in a democracy and attempting to muzzle its legitimacy to operate is tantamount to breach of the very fundamentals of democracy.
CSOs’ representatives said this in Lilongwe during a press conference on the state house’s statement which accused them and the media of causing anarchy. In its statement, the State house, further warned the CSOs and media of arrests if they continue what they called demeaning the office of the president.
The CSO’s are among other things demanding unconditional and immediate retraction of the President Bingu wa Mutharika’s order to DPP party cadets to attack innocent citizenry, guaranteeing all fundamental freedoms including opinion and expression and stopping of attacks on private media.
Speaking to the press, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) National Coordinator Reverend McDonald Sembereka said the CSOs have no agenda of insulting the president neither propagating for regime change. However, Reverend Sembereka, said constructive criticism should not be equated to insult; adding that regime change, if done within the country’s laws is not a problem as the constitution of the land guarantees that.
The statement has come barely hours after Mount Soche Hotel, under instruction from government, canceled the booking of the meetings organized by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). PAC is scheduled to hold a conference to reflect the state affairs as one way of collectively exploring solutions to the country’s economic and political governance crises.
However, Minister of Information Patricia Kaliyati, has today, said as government is not aware of any invitation to the PAC meeting. Despite Kaliyati’s claim, the invitation list by organizers of the PAC meeting shows that invitation was extended to the party.
Other CSO leaders present during the briefing were Dorothy Ng’oma, Voice Mhone, Billy Mayaya, and Benedicto Kondowe.