Divisions have emerged among civil society organizations (CSOs) critical of the Tonse Alliance government, with some opting to work with President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera in fixing the broken systems in government.
After the failed anti-government street protest on Wednesday championed by South Africa-based Charles Ben Longwe and his colleague, Redson Munlo, seven CSO leaders addressed journalists in Lilongwe on Thursday where they announced their decision to back off the militant approach in pushing their agenda and instead employ advocacy, engagement and work with the government.
The CSO leaders present at the presser included Desmond Mhango, Oliver Nakoma, Moses Busha, Shaib Ajas, Noel Maganga, Muona Chankakala and Philip Kamangirah.
In a separate interview on Friday, Nakoma said they decided to back out of the street protests and give dialogue a chance.
He said they were impressed with President Chakwera’s willingness to engage and listen to the concerns Malawians are raising through CSOs.
“We, members of the CSOs, met in Mangochi from 29th – 30th July, 2022, where a number of issues were agreed upon that are paramount to national building through direct engagement with government authorities in our efforts to promote peace and unity amongst Malawians.
Against this background, we wrote to President Lazarus Chakwera seeking an audience in order for us to present issues that were raised by over forty (40) CSO Leaders in Mangochi. Subsequently, on the 12th August, 2022, His Excellency the State President granted us the audience,” said Nakoma.
He said during their meeting with Chakwera, a number of issues were presented to the government.
Nakoma said: “And we are glad to report that President Chakwera agreed to most of the concerns that were raised and that he promised to look into those matters for action especially on political governance.”
Nakoma said as facilitators of peace and unity, the concerned CSOs will now work towards becoming a bridge between government and the citizenry in resolving matters that tend to divide the nation.
“We have decided to be a middle person bridging the citizenry and duty bearers to galvanize sense of belonging, of ownership, of understanding of responsibilities as corresponding to duties undertakings or the need to doing so, identifiability as a people of Malawi in preserved culture founded on traceable values and norms, and that eventually Malawi is a society of patriotic citizens,” he said.