Kapito accuses Malawi govt of bribing demo organizers, vows to march on

Malawi’s consumer rights activist John Kapito has accused the government for bribing organizers of a series of planned nationwide demonstrations to suspend or cancel their scheduled January 17th protests but said he will still lead the march.

Kapito, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director, told a news conference in Blantyre that government was giving money to some organizers to sabotage the protests.

He made the allegations after chairman of the organizing committee for the demonstrations Mac Sightings Mdoka, committee’s spokesperson Kingsley Mabalani and some of the organisers have withdrawn from the planned demonstrations, saying they would want to give dialogue a chance.

Kapito has since asked the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate the bribery allegations.

Kapito: This Mdoka man and others have been given ‘oranges’ to seal their mouths

“This is corruption. Look what is happening, I feel ACB should investigate on this. Money is exchanging hands,” said Kapito.

Government spokesman Moses Kunkuyu has sharply denied the allegations, saying “we cannot do that.”

Kapito said he is not moved by  the  pull out  of some of the organizers, maintain the demonstrations “by the consumers” will proceed as planned.

“ In fact what is happening just portray how weak we Malawians are. We allow money to corrupt our way of  thinking and betray the nation in the end,” he said.

“The  demonstrations are still on because it’s not all about me or any organization, it’s about the consumers”.

On calls for dialogue, Kapito said :“We gave government 14 days to respond to our six-point petition but up now there is no response.”

He said the 14 days period had elapsed on Monday.

,Meanwhile, Kapito said they have started civic educating the masses on the demonstrations through radio and television and dismissed reports that he fled his family to South Africa.

“My family is still here unless you say I have another wife somewhere of which I don’t know. How can I flee my wife to foreign country this cold season? Do you want me to sleep alone, feeling cold alone? I can’t do that no matter what happens.

“The demonstrations are for those who are feeling the pinch of the Kwacha floatation. The floatation of our currency has forced prices of basic commodities to rise and this is affecting many Malawians who don’t earn much to sustain their lives.

“There is a need for government to increase the salaries for civil servants to be at par with the current economic status, otherwise, the nation is at pain,” he added.

Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) joined by Council for Non-governmental Organizations of Malawi (Congoma) and some unnamed community based organizations 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.

The organizing committee has produced a six-point petition backing their move to the streets, citing the issue of floating of Kwacha, the need to sell the controversial presidential jet and Mercedes Benz cars used by ministers as well as reduction of presidential convoy, presidential and cabinet travel, corruption, declaration of asserts and bloated cabinet and executive arrogances.

Kapito has insisted if government fails to address the raised issues in the petition after January 17, then it should expect boycotts and never ending protests.

“We know the issues cannot be addressed right away and this is a long battle, but we need to see clear demonstrations by government that it is indeed addressing our concerns. All what we get right now is lip service, nothing else,” said Kapito.

He further claimed that President Banda and vice  president Khumbo Kachale were not interested to listen to the pains of Malawians as they are already cautioned on the effects of devaluation through the continuous withdraw of allowances.

Kapito argued the need for the austerity measures to be impended across the board and not only to specific people or organizations.

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