By Patricia Mtungila-MEC STRINGER
The United Transformation Movement (UTM) has described the demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) in Mzuzu, as part of the national-wide protests on poor governance on Friday, as successful despite an incident by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to disrupt the event.
Afiki Mbewe Regional Governor for UTM in the North said this in Mzuzu on Friday soon after the crowd of protestors numbering hundreds dispersed peacefully upon delivering the petition to the Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive Dr MacCloud Kadam’manja who represented the Government.
“We were very much successful. The demonstrations were just good. Although our colleagues from the ruling Party they organized their own what they call sweeping exercise which was not even authorized by the City Council and the Police,” said Mbewe.
According to Mbewe the UTM decided to participate in the demonstrations as one of the stakeholders that speaks for the people in the Country.
“ The issues which the civil society are elaborating is just similar to what UTM is all about. So we thought it wise that we join since, these organisation they are representing the people and United Transformation Movement also represents the people,” said Mbewe.
Clad in mainly; red, black and green, the demonstrators marched from Mzuzu Upper Stadium straight to the Mzuzu High Court Roundabout where they stopped briefly to dance and display placards speaking against corruption in the Government.
However, the demonstrations were briefly halted at the Mzuzu High Court when DPP members were seen sweeping the Clock Tower Roundabout.
One of the organizers of the demonstrations Happy Mhango said that the protestors stopped at High Court Roundabout to inquire from the Police and the City Council on why they had allowed the DPP members to use the new Mzuzu Highway which Police and Council officials had earlier indicated was not for large public meetings due to the construction works on the Road.
“It was one of those days when we witnessed another high level of impunity and lack of respect for human rights. We wanted to find out in the first place when did the DPP get the permission to do the demonstrations but the CEO of Mzuzu City told us that he never gave DPP that permission,” Mhango said.
Mhango and another of the organizers, Charles Kajoloweka thanked the people who joined the demonstrations in Mzuzu adding that this was a sign that Malawians are not happy with the high levels of corruption in the Government.
The HRDC organized the demonstrations in protest over Government’s alleged inaction on the April 27 Petition and other fresh demands on poor governance in the Government.
The incident by the DPP comes barely two weeks after political parties including in Mzimba North unilaterally agreed at a meeting of the Multi-Party Liaison Committee of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to avoid organizing counter events that can spur political violence in the run-up to the 2019 Tripartite Elections.