Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - Malawi press this week reported the general disquiet over State policies which are spreading by the day both within and outside the country.
"Bingu Faces Protest In Botswana," was the headline in The Nation which reported on the Batswana opposition political parties’ decision to boycott President Bingu wa Mutharika's engagements during his three-day state visit to the diamond-rich nation due to what they called Malawi 's "poor human rights record".
"My conscience does not allow me to sit next to a man whose intolerant conduct bears all the hallmarks of authoritarianism," the daily quoted Botswana Movement for Democracy Member of Parliament, Nehemiah Modubule, as saying.
It was not only Botswana that showed solidarity with Malawians on the deteriorating human rights situation in Malawi as the Daily Times reported under the headline "German 'Varsity Marches For UNIMA", saying that students of the Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg joined Amnesty International in support for academic freedom in Malawi .
"We urge you to ensure academic freedom without any derogations, ensure freedom of expression, make sure that suppression of peaceful demonstrations and disproportionate harassment of protestors is stopped and that all demonstrators who were arrested be pardoned or receive a fair trial, re-open Chancellor College and the Polytechnic as soon as possible so that the students can continue with their classes, reinstate all lecturers who were dismissed," the daily quoted the university's myriad of concerns as communicated to President Mutharika via a petition.
Next to show disquiet was London where, under the headline "Britain's Cameron Gets Malawi Petition", The Nation reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged receipt this week of a petition some concerned Malawians presented to the Number 10 Downing Street, asking the United Kingdom to condemn Malawi's deteriorating human rights situation.
Washington also took part on the onslaught on Lilongwe's policies with the US government insisting that its decision to release US$ 350.7 million Millennium Challenge Corporation money to boost Malawi's energy sector did not mean it had shelved its concerns over Malawi's sliding human rights record that forced it to postpone the signing of the deal last February.
"The US government has not changed its stand," The Nation quoted US embassy Public Affairs Officer as saying. "We were concerned about pending legal changes in Malawi and sought clarification from government about those changes."
Back home, disquiet over government policies was also evident.
"Fire Peter Mutharika", screamed a headline in The Daily Times which quoted opposition leaders as urging President Mutharika to fire his brother, who is the Education Minister, for his failure to handle the stand-off in the University of Malawi where lecturers have been boycotting classes for eight weeks over concerns of interference on academic freedom by authorities.
"The undersigned opposition parties squarely fault the Minister of Education whose laid back approach and lack of seriousness have allowed the situation to deteriorate to where it is now," the daily quoted a statement by seven opposition leaders as saying.
The week also saw headlines about President Mutharika's directive to re-open the Malawi Electoral Commission, which he suspended over unaccounted for money, the president's decision to authorise government to allow former President Bakili Muluzi to seek medication in South Africa and news of Vice President Joyce Banda's new Peoples Party.
-0- PANA RT/VAO 9April2011