DPP on Malawi’s Jan 17 demo: ‘Let the constitution prevail’

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has refused to take a stand on the anticipated January 17 national-wide demonstrations championed by Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama).

DPP has since said would love to see the Constitution – which guarantees universal human right to hold peaceful demonstrations – prevailing amidst divided opinion among some sections of the society on whether the demonstrations should take place or.

During the DPP regime Malawians demonstrated against late Bingu wa Mutharika’s economic policies and lack of respect for the rule of the law on July 20 2011 which claimed the lives of 20 people as the law enforcers resorted to confrontation.

The DPP also deployed the youth militia wielding pangas to intimidate protestors.

Dausi: Let the supremacy of the constitution prevail

With such memories some people are uncertain as to whether the demonstration will really take place and be peaceful.In an interview with Nyasa Times,  DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the former governing party would not want to take a stand on demonstration because they were for consumers .

”As a party, we would rather take an impartial stand and not comment on that issue. By the way, what does the Constitution says on such issues? Then let it prevail,” said Dausi.

“Remember it’s not a matter of stopping or supporting the demonstrations, it’s about what the country’s Constitution stipulates,” said Dausi.

Cama jointly with Council for Nongovernmental Organizations in Malawi (Congoma) is propagating national-wide protests against President Joyce Banda administration’s failure to address the current economic challenges the country is experiencing.

Cama mentions issues of low salaries, floatation of the kwacha, extravagance on the part of the president and the automatic pricing mechanism of fuel which has been blamed for its role in the rise of prices of commodities as the major reasons for holding the demonstrations.

They are protesting against refusal to declare of assets by the President and the Vice-President and the trimming of the Cabinet. They are also accusing government of covering up corruption

Cama’s Executive Director, John Kapito, said they are targeting consumers who are feeling the pain of devaluation to hold protests.

“The main stakeholder in these demonstrations is the consumer and in our definition, a consumer is an ordinary individual, the final user of goods and services, the one who goes into a shop and realises that he or she cannot afford the very same basic commodities he used nine months ago. We are not engaging companies and organisations,” Kapito said while adding that organisations and groups are free to take part if they appreciate the struggle consumers are facing and believe in the cause Cama is pushing for.

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