A demonstration expressing popular discontent regarding frequent power outages is scheduled on Wednesday, November 8, in central Lilongwe. The event is scheduled to begin at the Area 18 roundabout at 08:00 (local time), with demonstrators then planning to march along Presidential Way to the Civic Offices. The demonstration is expected to conclude around 11:00. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are likely in the vicinity of any demonstrations.
Power outages are a common occurrence across Malawi due to the country's reliance on hydropower. Over 90 percent of the country's electricity comes from hydroelectric dams on rivers fed by Lake Malawi. Over the last decade, low annual rainfall has reduced the water levels of Lake Malawi, which has in turn affected the dams’ electricity-generating capacity.
Civil society groups believe that the regular energy shortages are in part due to poor management by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Arthur Mutharika.
Individuals present in Lilongwe are advised to avoid all demonstrations, to follow all instructions issued by authorities, and to anticipate travel disruptions in affected areas. In addition, due to continued water shortages, people are advised to be prepared for water cuts (stock up on bottled water) and to follow any water conservation instructions issued by local authorities.
On a more general note, anyone in or planning travel to Malawi is urged to exercise caution due to the risk of violent crime (including armed robberies, carjackings, and home invasions) and to remain particularly vigilant in urban areas and at sites popular with tourists. Lilongwe's Old Town should be avoided after nightfall. Criminals are often armed; if targeted, do not resist and do not look your attacker directly in the eye.