Friday, February 11, 2011

(NYASATIMES) Malawians to do march over fuel crisis on Monday

Malawians to do march over fuel crisis on Monday
By Nyasa Times
Published: February 11, 2011

Malawi’s capital Lilongwe will on Monday temporarily become another Egypt’s Cairo when thousands of disgruntled Malawians will take to the street over the persistent fuel scarcity in the country.

Over the last few days, Malawi’s fuel crisis has deteriorated grinding businesses to a halt as desperate motorists have been waiting in vain for supplies at various pump stations while thousands have been sleeping at filling stations across the country.

Tired with the development, the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has organized a civil society action on fuel where thousands of Malawians are expected to peacefully demonstrate in the capital.

Bamusi: Seeks to follow the Egyptian protest, in a peaceful way

Calling it the ‘Big Bicycle March On The Fuel Crisis’, HRCC National Coordinator Mavuto Bamusi says in a statement, the grand march and peaceful demonstration has been organized against the persistent and continuous fuel shortage in the country.

Bamusi says the demonstration is a collective action with civil society networks and institutions. Among them are the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSCQBE), Malawi Health Equity Network

(MHEN), Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU), Council for NGOs in Malawi (CONGOMA), Malawi Human Rights Youth Network (MHRYN), National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (NOMN), Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) and MANERELA.

The civil society Grand March and Peaceful Demonstration on Fuel will take place on 14th February from 08:00am starting from outside the Pacific Hotel.

The protesters will march and demonstrate all the way to the Office of President at Capital Hill through Parliament gates and it is expected to end at 11:30am.

“This is a peaceful demonstration and it is organized on principles of non-violence. We are therefore inviting members of the general public and any other willing persons to join this peaceful march,” says Bamusi in the statement.

Participants to the grand march are being asked to bring a bicycle (not a must but extremely important), a whistle or a vuvuzelah and put on red and black attire or any similar combination (not a must but also extremely important).

“Tell your friends via email, or sms or by word of mouth about the march and why it is important for them to take part in this peaceful non violent march against the fuel crisis,” concludes the statement.

Meanwhile, Malawians, inspired by the thousands of protesters in Egypt, have welcomed the idea and applauded the civil society’s gesture in initiating the move and are ready to participate in the grand march.

Many people interviewed by Nyasa Times in Blantyre Central Business District (CBD) on Friday morning indicated they were eager to take part in the grand march.

“What is it that can fell us to do the same as our friends in Cairo? The only problem is that it is being held in Lilongwe. We are tired with this old man as well,” commented one woman selling bananas along the streets of Blantyre.

“He [Bingu wa Mutharika] should step down he has failed us, he has failed the country. Nobody can trust him any more.”

And on Thursday, Malawi’s Energy and Mining Minister Grain Malunga told the nation he cannot resign as a cabinet minister because of the fuel crisis and instead blamed the country’s commercial banks for not providing forex to operators to import fuel.

He said in an interview on Capital FM that he is going to abdicate his position if the fuel situation does not improve by this weekend.

“Have I failed the country to pay for fuel or have I failed the country because I cannot generate enough forex, what is the logic here?… I am not going to resign because the issue of fuel is clearly manifested in the lack of payment for importation of fuel and this is contributed by the commercial banks,” Malunga told the radio.

Malawians have however argued that forex is being depleted because of President Bingu wa Mutharika globetrotting habit and his government’s extravagance which, among others, include the controversial purchase of Hummers and a presidential private jet.—Nyasa Times

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