Critic of Malawi’s protest demo irritated over journalist's Facebook slurs

One of Malawi’s citizens who are campaigning against January 17 demonstrations facilitated by the country’s consumers watchdog group the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has reported a northern region based journalist to a local media watch dog , Namisa, over  what he calls “a defamatory” Facebook post.

Businessperson Watson Katawa Nyasulu, who calls himself a concerned citizen, held a press conference last Saturday in Mzuzu city in which he strongly spoke against the CAMA- championed demonstration.

However, reacting to what Katawa told the reporters, George Mkandawire, who reports for Joy Radio from Mzuzu, posted a comment on his Facebook wall which Katawa  feels was aimed to defame him.

The post reads: “So Katawa Nyasulu was paid to counter the 17 January demonstration? Shame…the man is a failure. I have interacted with the guy several times. M’mutu muli gwaaaaaah….(He is a dunderhead).”

Katawa: Irked with dunderhead slurs

This has forced Nyasulu to report the matter to National Media Institution for Southern Africa to take disciplinary measures against the journalist.

“In fact I wanted to take George to court over the defamatory post about me where he could have proved that I have been paid to speak against the demonstrations and that I am a failure. But I didn’t want him to face the law hence reported him to the responsible authorities first,” said  Katawa, who previously walked from Usisya to Nkhata Bay District Council offices to present a petition when
prominent private practice lawyer-cum human rights activist and politician Ralph Kasambara was arrested.

CAMA official are planning to hold demonstrations on January 17 which aimed to push government authorities to address economic problems which the country is facing including ever increasing prices of goods and services largely caused by the devaluation and floatation of Malawi Kwacha.

However there have been mixed opinion of the matter with some people arguing that demonstrations will address nothing as the economic problems the country is currently in were caused by the previous regime and that its too early to expect the president Joyce Banda administration to address the challenges within a short period of time she has been in office.

But other groups, say the economic challenges which Malawi is currently facing have been exacerbated by poor economic policies by the Joyce Banda administration hence demonstration against such policies are relevant.

CAMA’s boss John Kapito has  said those criticising the move to hold the demonstrations have no idea of the hard times Malawians are going through.

According to published reports, Kapito e argued the critics are well-to-do, but have no sympathy for poor consumers who cannot afford a living due to escalating prices of goods and services.

Associate professor of political science at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Dr Blessings Chinsinga told The Nation that there is need for government and demonstrations organisers to go into dialogue.

Said Chinsinga: “It will be very  unfair and undemocratic for the organisers to go ahead with the demonstrations when government has created room for dialogue.

“However, there is need for government to take seriously the issues that are being raised because in that way, a solution might be reached.”

Chinsinga said dialogue will signify maturity in solving the problems.

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