Kapito undeterred on Malawi’s protests: Jan 17 demo on

Despite many calls for dialogue and appeal for Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) to call off the January 17 demonstrations, CAMA boss John Kapito says he will go ahead with street protests against the Joyce Banda’s government failure to address the ailing economy.

Government and various stakeholders have been addressing news conferences urging Cama not to go ahead with the plans to hold demonstrations and give dialogue a chance to prevent loss of lives and property.

But Kapito said its all systems go for the mass demonstrations.

“There is a lot of interest from consumers out there to go in the streets,” he pointed out, adding “The preparations are done- we are all ready at the moment.”

Kapito: We will dialogue on the streets

He dismissed appeals for dialogue, saying government has responded to their six-point petition through political rallies with “insults.”

“Who do we dialogue with when the same government refused to respond to our concerns?  They have responded through public rallies,” queried Kapito when he spoke on Zodiak Broadcasting Service on Thursday.

“What we have seen is a lot of ridicule and insults at political rallies from political machinery of PP (ruling People’s Party),” said the consumer advocate.

Kapito said despite the “insults” and intimidation from the government machinery, organisers are not moved; saying mobilisation for mass action is “surely underway.”

He said “demonstration is also part of dialogue.”

Public demonstrations require police permission but Malawi Police has refused to say whether or not they are prepared well enough for the forthcoming anti-government protests.

But a Commission of Inquiry into the July 20, 2011 demonstrations showed that police didn’t have enough personnel to control irate protesters, a situation that forced cops to use live bullets to shoot about 20 people.

Minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa hinted on Zodiak that the Malawi Police does not have enough cops to ensure a peaceful protest, saying there are only about 11, 000 police officers in the country who are not enough to guarantee security once the demonstrations turn violent.

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