As the count-down to the January 17 demonstrations championed by the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) nigh, leaders of the Malawi’s opposition People’s Transformation party(Petra), say are yet to decide on whether they should take part in the protests .
The Malawi’s consumer lobby group is organising the demonstration in a bid to push government authorities to revise economic policies which is hurting Malawians including the devaluation and floatation of the Malawi Kwacha which is pushing up the prices of goods and services on daily basis.
However, Petra’s president Kamuzu Chibambo who is a practising lawyer told Nyasa Times that he personally feels that though anyone has a constitutional right to hold a demonstration it would be like “jumping the gun” if people would demonstre against government economic policies this time around.
“We understand that the government has announced that it has embarked on economic recovery drive which aims to turn around the current economic problems Malawi is facing, I feel that it would be prudent if we give the government a chance,” he says.
Chibambo stresses that this doesn’t mean that the party is against the planned demonstration saying Petra has been participating in previous demonstrations.
“We as a party took part in July 17 demonstrations and I personally participated in another demonstration in 2002 where we marched from Blantyre to Limbe. So as a party, we will meet soon and communicate our position in due course on our position on January 17 demonstrations,” Chibambo says.
Another opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has refused to take a stand on the demonstrations arguing they are for the consumers.
DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi had earlier told Nyasa Times that the party would rather take an impartial stand and not comment on that issue.
“By the way, what does the constitution says on such issues? Then let it prevail,” said Dausi.
But Malawi’s leading opposition party in parliament, Malawi Congress Party has endorsed the demonstrations arguing that Malawians have a right to hold demonstrations any time and on any ground they feel reasonable to them.