PPM calls for national conference to avoid Malawi’s mass demos

Malawi’s opposition political party Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) has threatened to mobilise its members to prop up the January 17 nationwide protests if government does not listen to its request.

The party observes while mass protest is a constitutional right of people, it does not believe the planned demos will bring any solution to the problems currently facing Malawians.

The country’s consumer rights body, Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), is championing the January 17 nationwide protests against the prevailing economic hardships, notably rising prices of basic needs following the devaluation and floatation of Malawi kwacha.

In a statement signed by PPM Secretary General, Wellington Chatepa, the party says while it appreciates government’s efforts in trying to alleviate the sufferings of Malawians, it has not seen much impact other than the continued pain of the people.

Katsonga: Let’s meet up and talk or we march

PPM has since appealed to the Joyce Banda administration to call for an all inclusive stakeholders’ national conference to debate and find common solutions to the challenges within the first quarter of 2013.

“For this reason, PPM is of the view that, if an open, transparent and well organized national debate was to be held, solutions to these challenges could be found.

“All resolutions which will come out of the national conference will be passed on to government for inclusion in the 2013/14 National Budget debate by Parliament. PPM believes that this process will move the country forward,” says the party in its statement.

It adds: “PPM sincerely hopes that the holding of a national conference may be a good and constructive alternative to the mass demonstrations.”

However, the opposition party threatens that in the absence of government giving an opportunity to all stakeholders in search for solutions to citizens’ concerns, it will not hesitate but support the call for mass demonstrations for the peoples’ voice and demands to be heard.

PPM, which was founded by late veteran politician Aleke Banda and is led by wealthy businessman Mark Katsonga, reveals in its statement, it gathered some pertinent issues affecting the people at all levels of society in Malawi following the difficult times Malawians are passing through economically and socially.

It says the issues were submitted to the office of the State President in December last year for the attention of government but is yet to get feedback.

However, President Banda said on the eve of New Year, she will not stop the planned demonstrations but asked the organisers to seriously review government’s efforts- what it has done and continues doing- in its quest to pull Malawians out of the prevailing hardships.

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