The CSOs were invited on Monday evening to a meeting on Tuesday. This shows a lack of planning by government. It seems clear that this is late and not well organized. There was no agenda communicated, there was no explanation on the status of the meeting.
CSO leaders are busy people, who cannot be expected to come at anybodies whim, including the President’s. At the same time, a meeting with unclear status and no agenda, and in the light of Mutharika’s recent eruption of anger at a press briefing, it seems clear that CSOs need time to prepare, and decide their position on the points on the agenda. And they need to be prepared in case the President explodes again, and starts binging the table. What do you do in such a case? The CSO delegation will need to meet on beforehand to have their attitude to such a Presidential storm ready. And they need to know each other’s point of view.
The President, with his recent behavior has not made his own position any easier, some people will have a healthy caution before meeting a President with a short temper. The previous leader of the same DPP party (who happened to be Arthur Peter Mutharika’s brother) was famous for his short fuse, and the opponents need to have their ranks closed to wither the storm.
Government must be commended for initiating the dialogue, but must be asked to do this again in a proper manner. Government is full of competent politicians and has plenty of competent civil servants at its disposal, so proper planning can be exercised, and the CSOs can make a meaningful contribution to the governance of the country.