Malawi Govt critic Kapito claims death threatened

Fierce critic of President Joyce Banda and a consumer rights advocate John Kapito says he is receiving death threats over his remarks that the President created an artificial maize scarcity to justify her maize distribution gestures.

The former head of Malawi Human Rights Commission, claimed in a statement that he has been receiving death threats from unknown phone calls and has had two attacks since March 30 2013.

Kapito, who is executive director of the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama), in a statement claimed that on March 30 2013 he was almost attacked by knobkerrie-wielding people who followed him from Bvumbwe Trading Centre in Thyolo to Chigumula in Blantyre, on the Limbe-Thyolo Road, for allegedly accusing the President that she was politicising maize and making maize unaffordable and inaccessible on the market.

He said the threats have worsened after the President publicly threatened him with a legal suit.

Kapito: Claims receiving death threats
Kapito: Claims receiving death threats

“I am ready to appear before the courts and be hanged as she [the President] wishes, but through the proper legal process,” said Kapito.

Kapito said he did not report the threats to Police “ because I have endured so many of such threats in the past and where I have reported to police, nothing has happened.”

State House has dismissed Kapito claims, saying President Banda “is not violent.”

Presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane accused Kapito of defamation.

Kapito has been critical of the Joyce Banda administration on the economic crisis but President Banda denies responsibility.

Soon after succeeding the late president Bingu wa Mutharika last April, Banda’s administration introduced free market economic reforms, including a 49 percent devaluation of the kwacha and its subsequent floatation, re-introduction of the automatic pricing mechanism (APM) on fuel and deregulation of water and electricity tariffs.

The Banda administration also crafted an austerity national budget to cut on spending in the face of dwindling domestic revenues and donor aid.

The measures were part of a prescription aimed at restoring the IMF-supported economic programme in Malawi, the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which was suspended during the Mutharika administration in 2011.

The Malawi leader said in the short term, it is expected that the reforms will have a negative impact on livelihoods of the people.

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