Commentators have described as cheer hypocrisy assertions by the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) that a call by opposition alliance partners MCP and UTM Party for workers to boycott work on Friday in protest against Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and the commissioners to administer the fresh elections is unlawful and would affect the economy.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM at a news briefing in Lilongwe on Tuesday said they have organised ‘The Day of Rage’ protests this Friday and called upon workers to boycot work for one day to force Justice Ansah and her fellow Commissioners – who the court declared incompetent to manage an election- to resign.
“We have christened 27th March, 2020 The Day of Rage. Since we cannot hold street protests due to the threat of the Covid-19 virus, we are calling on all our supporters to stay away from work on Friday.
“Just for one day, we must remind Prof Mutharika and Justice Ansah that we are tired of them taking us for granted. They do not have power. Power is with the people of Malawi. And the people of Malawi want Electoral Commissioners they can trust. Let us show our rage on Friday, 27th March, 2020,” said a joint statement from the two partners in the upcoming fresh presidential poll.
But DPP is contending that the boycott will hurt the economy.
Political analyst Humphreys Mvula said it is misleading for DPP to claim that the one day boycott would affect the economy of the country, when most protests in the recent past have been held during working days.
“Boycotts are a lawful and non-violent protest unlike most protests that the country has witnessed recently which were violent and led to damage of property and affected both work and businesses,” said Mvula.
He said DPP itself has held more than four protests recently during working days.
Another commentator said the call to boycott work would help the middle class to participate in the protests by shunning work since they do not physically join street protests and vigils but just post pictures and videos.
“This is the time for the working class to actively participate in the revolution other than being bystanders and just posting videos of protests without actauly participating,” said the commentator.
Boycotts are increasingly becoming a popular form of peaceful protects aimed at affecting the reputation of the target and also press for positive change.
However, the commentator said the Friday boycott can become successful if it is well-planned with a clear, strategic purpose and execution plan for a greater effect and more lasting impact.
“The boycott should also have a consideration to the needs of company owners and traders who would feel it will discrupt their business and the workers who may view the call as affecting their ability to feed their families,” said the commentator.
In their statement, UTM and MCP accused MEC led by Jane Ansah and President Peter Mutharika as treating the findings of the Constitutional Court and the Public Appointments Committee with contempt.
“(This) blatant disregard falls well short of the standard of behavior expected of senior public officers – particularly those charged with the solemn midwifery responsibility of giving effect to Malawians’ choice of their leadership. This self-serving and arrogant attitude towards State institutions established as a bulwark against capricious behavior of members of the Executive is a gratuitous assault on this nation’s constitutionalism. It is also very dangerous,” laments the statement.
UTM and MCP appealed to Malawians to unit to fight back against arrogance and impunity by Ansah, her commissioners and Mutharika.
“This nation has already paid too dearly for Commission’s incompetence. How much more should Malawians suffer for Justice Ansah to realise that this nation shall be better off without her and her fellow Commissioners clinging on to their positions? The nation surely must move on,”it said.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has described the call by UTM/MCP as unwarranted and unlawful.
Speaking to public broadcaster MBC, MCTU president Luther Mambala, a pro-DPP activist, said the call by the two opposition parties is illogical and against labour laws and called on workers to disregard the call.
There was no immeidiate response from MCP and UTM on MCTU remarks.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :