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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :