President of opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) Atupele Muluzi is setting the record straight regarding misconceptions reported by media outlets about national-wide demonstration in protest against President Joyce Banda’s administration failure to address current economic challenges.
Atupele, UDF presidential candidate in 2014 elections, was quoted by Daily Times on Thursday that he is throwing his weight behind the demonstrations slated for January.
Asked by Nyasa Times to clarify what he meant by backing the demonstration, the young Muluzi said he had told the paper clearly that demonstration is a constitutional right that is an entitlement of every citizen, but pointed out that his statement does not mean he or the UDF party is encouraging people to go on the streets.
“UDF has not taken position on the demonstrations,” he said.
He said the party still supports the principles of the right to demonstrate but said it “did not reflect on the current administration.”
Atupele said citizens have a right to demonstrate but cautioned that they should follow a due process.
“Citizenly responsiveness is vital part of democratic process, furthermore it is always important for there to be an avenue for the citizenry to voice out their grievances in a peaceful and orderly manner,” he said.
“The right to demonstrate does not mean that there has to be violence. There has to be peace, law and order. That is a reflection of true democratic society,” he said.
“The position of UDF should be seen as advocating or supporting anything unlawful but it must be seen in context of its core principles of democratic engagement and the participation of all its citizens,” said the UDF president.
Atupele was Economic Planning and Development Minister in Banda’s ‘inclusive’ government until last month when he resigned citing issues of principle.
Meanwhile, renowned gender activist Seodi White says President Joyce Banda should be the last person to deny people the right to demonstrate.
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