Traders frustrated with April 27 demos: ‘Economic loss for Malawi’

Some businesspeople in Malawi have expressed dismay with the April 27 nationwide demonstrations, saying the closure of shops during the protests resulted in them losing billions of kwacha in cash.

Shops shut shut down during the demo day

Protesters march along Kamuzu Highway in Blantyre, Malawi, April 27, 2018.

Shop owners in Lilongwe were advised not to open their shops by community police on fears that the demonstrations would degenerate to chaos.

A Malawian businessman of Asian descent who is into electronics and furniture business in Lilongwe’s Area 2 but refused to be named said he makes up to K1 million in a day, said he was greatly affected.

The same was shared among his colleagues who spoke to Nyasa Times but were conservative to be named for their “security.”

Business also came to a standstill in Malawi’s commercial capital Friday, with the city’s main road almost deserted and many shops and businesses temporarily closed, as hundreds of people marched against corruption and bad governance.

A small medium enterprise businesswoman who plies her trade in Limbe, Juliet Nsona, expressed similar sentiments.

“I am cash-strapped right now because just last week we paid school fees for our children. We are trying to pick up, and then the demonstrations come up. They have really affected us financially,” said Nsona.

In the Eastern city of Zomba the situation was the same, business at standstill.

The nationwide march  was peaceful, despite fears of a repeat of the 2011 anti-government demonstration in which 20 protesters were shot dead.

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) executive director, Dalitso Kubalasa, while sympathising with the businesspeople also commended the CSOs for holding peaceful protests.

“It is really a pity that business has been lost but we should also be thankful for what has been displayed today. It shows that in the future demonstrations it will be possible for business to go on as usual,” said Kubalasa.

In a petition entitled “Time to Reclaim Our Destiny,” organizers demanded that President Peter Mutharika reverse his appointment of Rodney Jose as the acting inspector general of police. Jose was implicated in the murder of university student Robert Chasowa in 2011.

The protesters also demanded the government end ongoing power outages, stop attacks on albinos, and change the electoral system to elect the president by simple majority vote.

Activists have given the president 90 days to address their concerns.

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Central
Guest
Central

So you mean to tell us business people do’t care as regards what their customers are going through financially? Zitsiru za anthu ndithudiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii………………!! If whatever people were demonstrating about works who will benefit more………………………..? Zidude za anthu…………………………!!

Nawenso Faiti ndi Chauwa muziona zolemba…………………………………….. the two of you have proved to be empty too!!

Roll out ATI now
Guest
Roll out ATI now

Good, if Asians closed their shops then demos are working. Malawians are hurting inside. We want you to fill the pinch as well so that next time you can join us in trying to correct wrong things.

Mswachi
Guest
Mswachi

I’m saddened by sentiments contained in the article. Seems either the writer or those interviewed don’t know why demonstrations were held. It seems the writer and those interviewed were intosticated with propaganda spread by the anti-demonstration counterparts. Why is it that always we believe demonstrations are violent? That’s stupidity and ignorance of the highest order. Democracy that people faught for in the early 90s gave us this right. Please accept that we are in the time when demonstrating is a right.

Hambakahle
Guest
Hambakahle

Useless article. It’s obvious that any closure of a shop leads to business loss. Actually business people were not forced to close shops…they were advised to close just incase. Again the buyers were not in town….they remained in their areas. In addition, if i want to buy something from your shop and you are closed, I can come the following day given that you were not the only one who was closed. I am sure on Saturday you made double the amoutcas you sold to the yesterday customers too!

Nebraska
Guest
Nebraska

Ndalama sizimatha

chikoti
Guest
chikoti

It’s wise and noble to ssympasise with such people.the didn’t make business die to demos..when greed,and selfish ness dominates the mind,,kuona amaona koma osapenya.

Mswachi
Guest
Mswachi

Even this comment has some elements of greed and selfishness. It assumes everything is right in Malawi. Freedom of expression is the right that we need to embrace.

Baba
Guest
Baba

Look at the few people that were there. Useless demonstration

State house
Guest
State house

@ chikoti
Hmmmmmm you describe those as few people. Pepani tikudziwa uku ndi kulira. Simunati msulira kwambiri

Jamax
Guest
Jamax

It is good for the Trapence & Timothy guys because it’s a win to then they have a least millions of kwachas in their pockets infact it’s part of their business – no demos no money. But for people who knows what life is cannot ripe anything from the demons they are a loss to most traders.

Chilungamo
Guest
Chilungamo

Of course one cannot rule out pro-DPP political sentiments in such observations. But assuming such observations are genuine, aren’t these business persons selfish like this DPP government itself? If ones make a million kwacha daily, does that mean aliyense amapanga ndalama zimezo pa tsiku, given same ability or business capital investment? Surely is the playing field level for business in Malawi? If there are for example 8 Lhomwe directors per ministry or with procurement contracts making a billion kwachas per day, does that mean 100 of people of other tribes (other than Lhomwe) with same qualifications/ business capabilities making zero… Read more »

Nsejusa
Guest
Nsejusa

Demonstrating against governments in democratic societies such as ours is normal. During even peaceful demonstrations which are usually meant to ask for improvement in services delivery by elected leaders, there are some sections of the society that may be negatively affected but that should not be a big issue waranting national attention except where property and peoples lives are lost. What is paramount after the demos is to evaluate if the intended objective has been achieved or not. It is upon the realistion of such an objective of the demos that will make the one day closed business to flourish… Read more »

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