PAC dismisses Malawi Police paranoia on demo

Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has denied claims by Malawi Police that at the end of the two-day conference aimed at finding solutions to Malawi’s economic and political challenges, they will incite  to hold anti-government street demonstrations.

The meeting is scheduled to end Thursday in the commercial capital, Blantyre.

Police issued   a statement alleging that it has information that the organisers of the conference – plan to incite Malawians into “regime change”.

Delegates having a chat at the PAC meeting. Photo by Matamando Manda

“The Malawi Police Service is in receipt of information to the effect that after the PAC Indabawhich is underway in Blantyre they intend to incite the public to conduct a demonstration,” said police spokesman Dave Chingwalu in a statement.

“The police have also information that the organisers have distributed money to people to join the demonstration; police is therefore asking members of the general public not to be tempted with money and join this illegal demonstration.”

Chingwalu said will use “all force as is necessary to deal with such illegal demonstration”.

But Reverend Maurice Munthali a leading member of PAC  said the summit doesn’t have any objectionable motives, except to to find pragmatic solutions to the country’s problems.

“Those views [from Malawians] as anyone else can predict are a lamentation of the situation at hand today.  People are lamenting over our declining and nose-diving economy [and] over the political status which is in disarray,” said Munthali on VOA.

“When people are lamenting over what is happening in their daily lives that cannot be deemed as opposing the government.  Nobody is going to clap hands when they are going hungry.”

Meanwhile, there is heavy presence of security forces in Blantyre  and the situation is also the same in cities of  Lilongwe, Zomba  and Mzuzu where police are scattered in the streets.

In Mzuzu the situation is reportedly worse with business almost coming to a standstill as most shops, particularly those belonging to Asian nationals remain closed.

The development comes following allegations without evidence by the Bingu wa Mutharika administration that the much anticipated conference was aimed at toppling the regime.

The conference has brought together over 100 delegates representing all the sectors except government and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who have boycotted the meeting.

On Monday, government successfully managed to order Mount management of Soche Hotel to cancel bookings of the conference in an attempt to have the meeting fail.

Mutharika’s administration is under pressure by the opposition, as well as civil society groups, to resolve what they call the “crippling economic crisis” the country faces.

Last July demonstrations, police used lethal force to kill about 20 protesters.

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