Malawi Watch takes neutral stand on demos: JB seeks patience

One of Malawi’s human rights lobby groups, Malawi Watch says it is taking no sides on the planned demonstrations championed by the country’s consumers’ watchdog, Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) in January 2013.

“We are not in denial of the planned demonstration neither we are in support,” says its executive director Billy Banda.

Banda says “the reason is that we are hoping and expecting that the current administration having noted that people are raising concerns will extend an olive branch and interact with those that are raising concerns”.

Among other issues, CAMA officials and other like-minded organizations are citing continuing devaluation of the Malawi kwacha which is pushing up prices of goods and services on daily basis.

President Banda: Seeks patience

Banda notes that the concerns raised are not out of politics but the challenges that ordinary people are going through.

He however says those advocating for the January demonstrations must be looking back where this country is coming from.

“We have gone through the worst experience where the infrastructure and the lives of people and many Malawians have been injured. We lost 20 productive lives during July 2010 demonstration and we are not ready for that this time.

“That’s why we are saying, ‘we are not in denial neither in support’ but we are asking the current administration to ask those that are advocating demonstrations to come together and reason and see how they can convince the masses on how to meet their expectations,” he says.

Banda is therefore making strong appeal to those pushing for the demonstrations to first consult people before rushing making decisions.

“They must not do things in the boardroom. They must consult and engage others and at the same time consider the welfare of Malawians and they should think of the lives that we lost during July 20 demonstrations and we don’t want that kind of things to repeat”

Banda also says the government should play pivotal role to avert January 2013 demonstrations.

Patience please- JB

Meanwhile, President Joyce Banda has appealed for patience and understanding as her government works towards finding solutions to the economic problems facing the country.

“When I delivered the State of the Nation Address in May, I confessed that we have inherited a difficult economy and these problems will not be solved overnight,” said President Banda in her first Christmas and New Year message as Head of State.

“I asked and prayed for your patience, resilience, hard work and unity as important attributes for us to overcome the challenges that we are facing. In my Christmas message to you today, I pray for the same. I do so knowing very well that the challenges are still there.”

Banda ascended to the presidency on April 7 this year in line with constitutional order after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.

She said some of the challenges inherited such as international isolation, sour relations with neighbouring countries and the political anger and pain in the country were easier to deal with as they just needed Executive decisions.

However, the President said the other challenges such as the impact of aid suspension, shortages of fuel and foreign exchange and increasing levels of poverty are very complex issues requiring a lot of time to resolve.

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