Fides Service REPORT - Today, July 20, the first general protest event is scheduled in major cities of Malawi: in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. Protesters take to the streets dressed in red, the color chosen by the leaders of the protest.
"Now they have lost their patience and their Malawian proverbial tolerance, able to repeat the old 'Osauka satopa proverb' (The poor never gets tired ... needless to say I am tired, because no one listens to you) or even ' Akapolo sakwiya '(The slave does not get angry). So, nothing remains but to take to the streets", says Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba to Fides, a Monfort missionary who has been living and working in the country for decades.
Fr. Gamba explains the reasons of the social problems that push the Malawians to the streets: "There is no electricity for more than six hours a day. A restrictive measure that will last until December and then resume in January, for a whole year. No fuel diesel and petrol, which can be bought at the black market at double the price, even reaching two euros per litre. Since July 18 the cost of newspapers has increased to 200 kwacha because a tax of 16.5 percent on all publications has been added. .. The price of food increases day by day, as well as transportation gets more and more expensive ".
The missionary also notes that on the eve of the protest "the worst side of the ruling party is emerging, when on the blue car of the government, a handful of CADETS, the squad on duty, holding the panga knife, large plantation knife used to cut sugar cane, showed up in central Victoria Avenue Blantyre. An exhibition that recalls the facts of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Never such a mise -en- scene had taken place in Malawi. The squad went on purpose to the areas of the city where the opposition is strongest and they were seen shaping their knives, wielding as a warning for the day which is about to begin ".
"On the same day of the protest, at the same time, President Bingu wa Mutharika will offer a lecture, as he wanted to define it, a university lecture to explain his vision on the country's economic and political situation , why everything goes to hell, but he has control of the situation. To a hungry person, but also to those who for days have queued for a litre of petrol ... the last thing to propose is a lesson", said Father Gamba.
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi and the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) made a joint appeal for everyone to refrain from violence and the police to protect citizens and avoid actions that could worsen the situation. Christian leaders have finally invited the faithful to pray for the nation