Mass demonstrations being championed by consumer rights activist John Kapito scheduled for January 17 are aimed at discrediting the Joyce Banda administration with calculated deadly scenes plotted, said an insider privy to the ‘plot’.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) of former President Bakili Muluzi’s son Atupele Muluzi and another former governing party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), now led by Professor Peter Mutharika, late President Bingu Mutharika’s young brother, have reportedly sponsored “unruly youths from various parts of the country” to give credence to the civil disobedience action.
They are suggesting Malawians are going through difficult social and economic problems under the President Joyce Banda administration. President Banda ascended to power on April 7, 2012 following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika following a cardiac arrest on April 5, 2012.
Mutharika had grown unpopular among the masses due to his deteriorating social, political and economic governance that led to the flight of traditional donor nations and organizations, including the IMF, World Bank and Britain.
“What they told us is that we should go into the streets on 17th to purportedly stage a mass protest against this government; in the process, the anti-riot police would come and shoot at us. Obviously, one, two or three people may die.
“The idea is to paint this government as an intolerant government that does not respect the people’s right to demonstrate peacefully; a government that kills its own citizens. But we’ve been wondering what is the merit for such an action; we found none; we told them off,” said Pascal Nkuta, one of the vendor leaders in Limbe Central District (LCD) who told Nyasa Times was approached by Chris Kamphinda Banda, a senior administrator at Mulli Brothers Limited in Chigumula, Blantyre to “help us”.
Mulli Brothers Limited is owned by Leston Mulli, a closest business associate of the late Mutharika. He is one of the key people who bankroll the DPP.
DPP spokesman Nicholas Dausi denied that the party is behind the demonstrations, saying they have not been consulted.
“We feel it is a consumers’ concern [and] DPP is just listening and looking at what is happening and we can say that DPP has no position on the matter,” said Dausi.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Kapito, the sole ‘mastermind’ of the demonstrations has also been to meet former President Bakili Muluzi at his retiring private home BCA Hill Residence.
Kapito is on record supporting the former President’s son, Atupele, on Zodiak Broadcasting Station as the “right presidential material come 2014 when the next elections in Malawi are due”.
Atupele Muluzi is among the 2014 Presidential aspirants but according to a Chancellor College political scientist, Dr. Mustapha Hussein, one would not rule out his clandestine involvement in the “purported demonstrations on 17th January, 2013” to score his own political points.
But UDF spokesman Ken Ndanga said the party is not involved in the planning of demonstrations though it supports people’s right to demonstrate and feels that the consumers have genuine reasons to demonstrate on January 17,
Ndanga nonetheless asked government to initiate dialogue, arguing it “has more to lose than the consumers” if the nationwide consumers strike goes ahead.
When contacted, Police Inspector General Loti Dzonzi refused to comment on the allegations , saying some people were only “trying to provoke the police to shoot” but indicated as a professional police service, “they are always alert when any criminal intentions and activities arise”.
Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), veteran rights activist Undule Mwakasungula, is on record not finding any single merit in Kapito’s insistence to lure Malawians into the streets when the Joyce Banda administration has “made it clear it is aware of the hardships the devaluation of the Kwacha has brought and that it is implementing intervention measures to cushion the same”.
Kapito insisted the demonstrations will go ahead, saying it is difficult to push for dialogue now when President Banda has already made her position clear on some of the issues such as declaration of assets and floatation of the kwacha.
CAMA demands immediate stop of the floatation of the kwacha, a stop on foreign and local travel by the President and her Vice-President Khumbo Kachali and the Cabinet ministers as well as the sale of the presidential jet.
Other demands include declaration of assets by the President and the Vice-President and the trimming of the Cabinet. The organisers are also accusing government of covering up corruption.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :