Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito has been selected by Nyasa Times Malawi’s leading online publication as the ‘Person of the Year’. Former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president John Tembo is runner-up.
Nyasa Times introduced the Person of the Year accolade in 2010 and it was first given to the then Vice President Joyce Banda who defied the late President Bingu wa Mutharika plans to hand over power to his brother Peter Mutharika.
Banda is now the Head of State following the sudden death of Mutharika in April 2012.
Nyasa Times then declared 2011 as the ‘Year of the Protestor’ in recognition of those who took part in the July 20 and 21 demonstrations as well as those who fought for academic freedom.
In 2012 Nyasa Times named General Henry Odillo of Malawi Defence Force as the person who had the greatest impact on the country for “leading the Malawi army to defend the Constitution” after former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) orchestrated a failed “constitutional coup d’état” following the death of Mutharika.
The Nyasa Times Person of the Year is someone who, for better influences the events of the year.
The short list for 2013 included Tembo for managing a successful succession plan in MCP.
Nominations which came from a cross section of opinion makers and well known personalities who were asked to nominate, said Tembo did not manipulate the MCP into handing over the party reigns to his relation as other parties and State House continue to harbour family members in top positions.
Other nominees shortlisted included the Malawi media in general for its watchdog role.
The list also had Roy Hauya who resigned over the rot that is at Malawi National Examinations Board as he felt he could not be part of the mess and opted out which is very rare in the country.
The other finalists include outspoken human rights activist Peter Chinoko of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) “who mustered enough courage to implicate the President and her Vice in cashgate when everybody else was skirting around the subject.”
Former budget director Paul Mphwiyo was also nominated for surviving a gunshot attack. His attack having led to the unravelling of the cash gate scandal
Others nominated “Cashgate” as the person of the year in Malawi for making news, shook the ground and changed the political and international relations landscape. It involved many people and that “to honour them all, honour what joined them.”
Announcing the winner for 2013, the online publication editorial management said it has named Kapito because he has consistently spoken against bad social, economic and political policies that impact negatively on consumer.
While at it he has not seen which face is in government. He did against the Bingu wa Mutharika administration and he continues to do it even against the Joyce Banda administration.
Kapito was the first to cry foul after President Banda sold out too much to the IMF who advocated for policies that had a negative impact on the poor people.
The consumer advocate began the year by organising a demonstration to protest the ever increasing high cost of living. Many took Kapito for an alarmist. Then a lot got fooled by the kwacha currency gaining value. Even respected economists thought this was going to be permanent, but Kapito saw danger.
More importantly he cried out when it was apparent that the Banda administration wanted the suffering caused by tough economic measures demanded by the IMF to be felt by the people only not them.
He spoke against President Banda’s constant travels when she preached austerity for others.
In short, Kapito has fought for the consumer including organizing demos even against President Banda, the darling of the West.
When Cashgate came, he was uncompromising to ask for punishment even of the big fishes.
CAMA boss continues to ask for accountability from government and is campaigning against the proposed electricity tarrif hike, while others ridicule him.
Nyasa Times management team felt the role of CAMA boss played in the year had “greatest impact” hence naming Kapito Person of the Year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :