Preparing for Malawi’s two-day candlelight vigil/protest
Malawi civil society leaders have called for a two-day candlelight vigil starting August 17, the day after the deadline set for government to respond to the petition submitted during the earlier protests on July 20, 2011. Previously expected to be a day of marches, the upcoming protest will be stationary and aimed at remembering those that died on July 20. Malawi’s major daily newspaper The Nation reported yesterday that the secretary general of Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) Robert Mkwezalamba said:
The initial agreement is that people in all regions and districts will converge on one place and conduct themselves peacefully while waiting for responses from the Head of State and government for an initial 48 hours, subject to extension depending on availability of response.
The front page of today’s Weekend Nation had the headline “ARMY SPEAKS ON PROTESTS”, reporting that “The Malawi Army is prepared to move in and protect property and people if the scheduled August 17 protests become violent and get out of control.”
The same article reported the Ministry of Health has been coordinating meetings at different hospitals around the country to prepare for emergencies.
Rumors that soldiers from the Zimbabwean army are in the country to back the president continue to circulate here in Zomba town. Friends have suggested stocking up on food items as it is uncertain when shops in town will reopen (after closing for the protests).