The United Nations Mediation process between CSO's and the Malawian government is due to start on August 25th. Voice Mhone has been announced as the chair for the CSO's and is also on the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations (Congoma). In a constructive step the CSO's appointed 6 leaders to the group who have not been particularly critical of the government in order not to derail the discussion before they start.
Some of the key issues which leaders say must be dealt with immediately are the removal of the Presidents wife from her paid position as "ambassador for safe motherhood", the assurance of freedom of expression, especially for academics and an end to the current deterioration of the relationship between the President and Vice President, Joyce Banda. Importantly leaders would also like to see the establishment of a truely independent investigation into the violence which broke out during the July 20th protests
Ban Ki Moon has welcomed the development in a statement issued on the 17th August saying:
"The Secretary-General considers the communiqué an important step towards a dialogue process. He calls on the Malawian stakeholders to continue their efforts to create a political and social atmosphere conducive to addressing the multifaceted challenges in the country.
The Secretary-General is pleased with and strongly supports the facilitation role played by Mr. João Honwana, Director at the UN Department of Political Affairs. He reiterates the UN's readiness to continue its facilitation efforts as requested by the parties"