Granted, the CSOs are making headway but the pace at which negotiations between them and the Presidential Contact and Dialogue Group (PCDG) are moving, is to say the least, worrisome.
The CSOs side claims that it has made headway in pushing for a solution to an academic freedom impasse that pitched Chancellor College academic staff against the government. It also claims that it has managed to force government to scrap off the salary of the First Lady and restoration of vehicles that were snatched from the Vice President.
But any critical eye can see that the CSOs side is not serious and firm in its push for reform on some issues. To begin with, after compressing the 20 points that they went to table with, they remained with issues that were billed as urgent. One of such issue is the unfair usage of MBC TV and Radio by the government.
Now, with such a pertinent issue, how do the CSO leaders say that they forgot to discuss the MBC issue? Where is their seriousness?
Come to think of it, the leader of the CSOs negotiators, Voice Mhone, admits that there is no mechanism to verify government claims of reform. Mhone says his team assumes that the government is being honest with its claims because to him, the talks are serious.
How do the CSO leaders take government seriously when the same government fails to fund the Law Commission to reform draconian laws that were discussed by the two sides? The government agrees, at a round table, to reform the laws yet it abdicates in funding the process.
One sane thing that the CSO leaders attempted to do was to push for the formation of a technical team to monitor implementation of the resolutions.
But it is so disheartening to learn that the negotiators were detracted by logistical issues, such as their allowances, transport and accommodation. How do the CSO leaders abandon their national call just because their allowances delayed?
We wish to remind the CSOs negotiators that government will not grant their wishes on a silver platter. Actually, the government is happy with the status quo.
The CSO leaders should remember that they are presiding over very emotive issues. The future of this country lies in their hands. They need to be serious and firm or admit that they have failed Malawians.