The program’s Executive Director and Chairperson for Civic and Political Space Platform, an umbrella body for 16 Catholic and Presbytery civil society organisations, Moses Mkandawire, made the call in Mzuzu on Monday at a press conference held at their offices.
Mkandawire stressed that even though it is the people’s constitutional right to make protests towards a certain behavior, statement or attitude, it is important for leaders mobilizing the citizens to ensure they have exhausted all other means through dialogue.
“As much as taking to the streets may be one of the means to bring us the needed change, I believe that there is still room for us [Civil Society Organisations, traditional leaders and religious leaders] to engage the president in a dialogue and debate before calling for protests,” he said.
He further advised people to draw lessons from the July 20, 2011 demonstrations where lives were lost.
Commenting on the country’s current economic situation, Mkandawire said Malawians need to understand that the crisis is a global problem which is affecting other countries as well. He said the economic hardship is also aggravated by cash gate which has led to the donors to withhold aid.
He, however, appealed to government to use available resources sparingly while at the same time respecting the people’s right to know how these resources are being used.
Mkandawire also reminded the citizenry that the country’s leadership cannot be barred from attending important international meetings so long as he becomes accountable to the citizens.
The Livingstonia Synod’s press conference comes a few days after President Mutharika’s press conference held last week in Lilongwe where he clarified issues about his trip to the 2015 United Nations General Assembly in New York-United States of America.