Malawians across the country yesterday, July 20, went to the streets to express what they said is their anger and disgust at President Mutharika’s “marauding tyranny, bad economic policies and [poor] democratic governance and gross human rights abuses among many others.
They cite issues to do with fuel crisis, forex shortage, persistent power blackouts, water shortages, and poor diplomatic ties with countries that have for years assisted in the development of the country like Britain.
But what were meant to be peaceful nationwide demonstrations were marred by questionable injunctions obtained by individuals with perceived links to government. People were tired of waiting and this prompted them to resort to violence.
Eye-witnesses have reported seeing eight people injured with gunshot wounds in the northern city of Mzuzu, including a young man shot through the stomach.
Initially, Four people were reported dead following the police’s failure to contain the situation where protesters vandalized shops, offices and vehicles belonging to the police and the ruling party the Democratic Progressive Party-DPP.
Also three journalists from private owned radio and newspapers were severely beaten. Mutharika has become embroiled in a diplomatic row with Britain, Malawi’s biggest donor.
As the riots carried the day throughout the country, President Mutharika was presenting a public lecture at his state house on issues of political independence, National sovereignty, forex, good governance and human rights.
He has emphasized that Malawi will never dance to the donors’ tune and that it was up to Malawians to take full control of their destiny and challenge the imposition of foreign values.
He says 47 years after independence, Mw was still relying heavily on foreign aid a thing he says is not healthy for this country.
He says Malawi could not be kneeling to beg from developing countries or donor agencies when the country can do better on its own. So, he asked Malawians not to panic.
Commentators say the president does not listen to criticisms and the results are now showing with people protesting against his policies.
Despite mounting commercial pressure on the currency and repeated calls from the likes of International Monetary Fund for a devaluation, Mutharika has vowed to stand firm.
Meanwhile, the civil society organizations have vowed to go back to the street come August 17, 2011 if Mutharika does not address the current issues.