Let there be demonstrations. Let those who feel the urge and have enough reason to express themselves through demonstrations, go on the street and express their thoughts.
As for those who are afraid of the demos, well, you can sit at home and watch, that is if you will have electricity to power your TVs and phones. There shouldn’t be anyone gagging people’s right to freely express themselves, it is their constitutional right and it should be protected and respected.
Sometime back, I wrote about how I admire activist Billy Mayaya.
To me, Mayaya is the only Malawian so far, who is able to stand up to government whenever there are injustices and social ills. He does not mope about economic or social ills prevalent in the country on Social Media or within the confines of his home, he publicly expresses his displeasure at a government that pays a blind eye to the sufferings of many Malawians.
Mayaya does not wait until the streets are filled with people to validate his cause, he simply does what he feels needs to be done at a particular time.
While the rest of us the timid, sit and watch even though we know things are going wrong, Mayaya is not afraid to pick up his placard and march in the streets even it means doing it alone with a horde of people laughing at him, he does not relent—now that is courage that is not in many of us. This is a lesson Public Affairs Committee (PAC) should learn. There will be people who will discourage you justifying that your reason for a march isn’t reason enough, but, tell you what, if you feel it in your bones that you have enough reason to march, please do go ahead and express yourself. You are within Constitutionally guaranteed right to do so.
Malawians are good at complaining behind leaders’ back few rarely pluck enough courage to face them. It’s either we cultivate the culture of speaking out our views or politicians will always take advantage of our timidity and plunder and run amok.
Now, many are chastising PAC for calling for the nationwide demonstrations on Electoral Reforms Bill. If I were PAC I would not mind such sentiments because in the end, these are the very same people who stand to benefit from the Electoral Reforms. Perhaps one thing I would urge PAC to do is to make the ordinary Malawian, understand what the 50+1 is all about and why should my aunt in Nthalire care about it. Otherwise let there be demonstrations—whether it’s demos on blackouts, poor governance and sheer lack of regard from the authorities, let people demonstrate.
Others are of the opinion that demonstrations do not bring any change. Who said demonstrations are an end? Demonstrations are merely a means to an end and not an end itself. It does not mean that change has to come as soon as the petition is delivered.
Demonstrations are also not a game of numbers but a matter of expressing one’s views and sending that important message home. Trust me, come December 13 if Reverend Dr. Felix Chingota finds himself alone on the street carrying a placard, it doesn’t matter.
I believe there is nothing like “too much” when it comes to expressing one’s views on matters dear to their heart.
PAC, please do not falter in your work of whipping politicians into line. If demonstrations are a means to that end, then keep on doing it. n