Summary: A fierce government critic decides to hold a public lecture, and books a conference room in a hotel…. then this happens.
ABOUT THE CANCELLATION OF THE PUBLIC LECTURE:
At 4:30 pm, we arrived at Victoria Hotel to make all the preparations for the lecture. Every thing was ready up until around 5pm. Then the hotel told us that we had to cancel because of load shedding. I responded that load shedding was not a problem because one can always negotiate with ESCOM to turn the power back on where there is an event going on.
After hearing this, the hotel changed tunes and told us that it was in fact not load shedding but an electrical fault that had put the whole hotel in a blackout. We asked about the backup generator, we were told the Genset wasn’t working. We asked about standby electricians that normally every hotel employs to address such emergencies. We were told that the hotel electrician had gone to Mangochi and his phone was off.
We asked to bring our own genset. We were told that that is not allowed. We asked to bring our own electricians to work on the electrical fault, and we were told that that was not allowed either.
We even suggested using a car battery to power our equipment and a few lighting devices so that the lecture could go ahead.
That was when we were told that the order had come from the chairman that since there was no power at the hotel, the lecture should be cancelled and no alternative powering methods should be explored.
As soon as we left the premises, I passed by the hotel again an hour later and the Power was back on. An employee of the hotel has confided to me that there was no electrical fault. He said the chairman of the hotel, MR Gani, called the Events and Conference manager of the hotel and shouted at her, instructing her to ensure that the lecture didn’t go ahead at the hotel and he would pay any compensation and damages incurred afterwards. The informant also told me that it was the order of the Chairman to turn off the power at the hotel and use that as the reason for canceling the event.
We remain undaunted, however, and we will soon announce a new venue and date. There’s no power like the power of an idea whose time has come. And the time has come to end corruption and impunity in this country. How many public lectures and private citizen initiatives are they going to sabotage and block?
To the 200 or so people that showed their support and came to attend the lecture, we apologize and thank you for showing your solidarity and patriotism. We can assure you that these primitively savage methods to deter us will only encourage us to keep going.
Source: Maravi Post