January 17 protests: One way of engaging govt

The date for protesting against the rising cost of living in Malawi has been set. Its now January 17 2013.

Despite some quarters calling for Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) boss John Kapito to engage government in dialogue instead of staging the planned January 17 2013 demonstrations, organisers are adamant the protests will go ahead.

Kapito, whose organisation is leading in the planning of the consumer demonstrations to protest against the rising cost of living, among others, said government has shown arrogance by failing to respond positively to issues.

In an interview on Wednesday, Kapito said the scheduled demonstrations have been called by consumers because government has failed to address issues affecting them.

He cited the size of the Cabinet, government (extravagant) expenditure and President Joyce Banda’s frequent travel as some of the concerns raised by the consumers body.

“These are not new issues. You may recall that the Public Affairs Committee [PAC] had an audience with the President. But what came out? There were no solutions, but the President blatantly said she cannot cut on the travels.

“There are many strategies to engage government and demonstrations are just one way of doing it,” said Kapito.

Recently, government pleaded for patience with organisers of the demonstrations, saying it is working hard to address the concerns.

Among other issues, the demonstrators argue that the floatation of the kwacha without mitigation measures has impacted heavily on consumers.

Meanwhile, the demonstrations’ organising committee has called for a press briefing in Blantyre today to outline their issues, how the demonstrations will be conducted and how people will be involved.

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