Malawi anti-govt demo set for January 17, Kapito announces

The much touted demonstrations championed by Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) will take place on January 17, 2013 in all the regions of the country, the organizers have revealed.

Cama led by its Executive Director, John Kapito is propagating the protests which have been given a boost as revealed in a survey conducted by one of the local papers, Nation on Sunday getting 58 percent of majority.

Government spokesman Moses Kunkuyu said the Joyce Banda administration will not counter the demonstrations.

Cama joined by Council for Non-governmental Organizations of Malawi (Congoma) are planning to hold national-wide demonstrations in protest against President Joyce Banda’s administration failure to address current economic challenges, which include high inflation rate and uncontrolled fuel pricing.

Kapito: Its January 17

In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, spokesperson for the organizing committee of the demonstrations, Kingsley Mubalani said meanwhile they are strategizing on meeting point for the demonstrators.

“The time and places where to convene will be announced before next week. Unlike the last year’s demonstrations, this time around we don’t have special colours for the protests. Our only plea is that people should come in large numbers and fight for their rights because it’s about the consumers not personal or institutional demonstrations,” said Mubalani.

On security, Mubalani assured the nation of tight security during the protests, adding the organizers will ensure there is no vandalism or looting of property just like what happened during the last year’s July 20 demonstrations where almost 20 people got killed and buildings and cars were vandalized.

Any ulterior motives?

On his part, Kapito dismissed assertions by some quarters that he has ulterior motives for organizing the notion-wide demonstrations instead of using contact and dialogue in addressing the concerns raised.

“There is nothing like personal here. This is all about consumers rights; it’s about Malawians and not John Kapito. And let me set the record straight here, it’s not NGOs who are calling for demonstrations, it’s the consumers. Are consumers NGOs?

“If other organizations have opted to meet the President for a dialogue, then that’s their strategy, but as consumers, this is what we chose. We have different approach all together, and taking it to the streets is what is best for us,” explained Kapito.

Kapito said they will notify the Police about the January 17 protests after finishing working on the demonstrations operation strategy, which will be known by January 1st.

Who is funding?

Kapito refused to disclose those funding the demonstrations, but said the January anticipated protests are getting much support from local and international organizations as well as individuals.

“There are many who are calling in expressing interest to support and fund the demonstrations. I just can’t mention them all. But be assured that the protests are getting overwhelming support. We will let you know about other issues later when everything is finalized,” said Kapito who continues to receive different views on the objectives of the demonstrations.

Last month Kapito gave President Joyce Banda two conditions if he is to call off the demonstrations. He asked Banda to reduce her continuous international and domestic traveling
And stop aligning the local currency with other major foreign currencies.

Apart from Congoma, Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has supported the move by Cama to take it to the streets on the economic challenges the country is experiencing under President Joyce Banda’s administration.

United Democratic Front (UDF) has also supported the need of allowing people to demonstrate, saying it’s their constitutional right to do so.

In May this year President Banda’s administration devalued the country’s currency apart from adopting Automatic Fuel Pricing Mechanism which has seen retail fuel prices rising on monthly basis.

Currently the cost of living is high with prices of good rising almost every day despite government initiating ERP to address the situation and the fuel supply is erratic.

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