Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) should engage government in constructive dialogue other than hold proposed 17th January nationwide protests, says the country’s biggest ecumenical body, the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC).
The Council has also asked government to engage CAMA constructively in dialogue and stop dilly-dallying or dragging its feet, as that would lead to Malawians losing trust in the leadership.
The body nonetheless shares the concerns of CAMA, pointing out: “Everyone is aware how the effects of devaluation have hit hard on all Malawians, causing untold miseries.”
In a statement signed by General Secretary Rev. Dr. Osborne Joda-Mbewe, the Council has emphasized the Church is not in support of the demonstrations as they may lead to some un foreseen influences taking over, threatening the lives of innocent people and their property.
The Council draws lessons from 19/20 July 2012 demos which saw about 20 people killed by police, scores injured, and property worth millions destroyed and businesses crippled for days.
MCC has however added Malawians must continue to demand for transparency and accountability in set austerity measures (Economic Recovery Plan – ERP) which must start to show promising results.
Peaceful demonstrations, says MCC, are constitutional right and government must respond amicably to ordinary people’s concerns who are particularly hit by the prevailing devaluation.
“The Council acknowledges that the suffering of the people has gone too far and deep and that Government must start to take noticeable and strong measures to address the people’s economic and social welfare as mass protests remain a means of last resort,” said the statement.
Malawians are also asked to keep praying for the peace and tranquility our country continues to enjoy.
Majority of people the opposition are against the protests that put to test President Joyce Banda’s leadership nine months in power.