Minister of Information Gospel Kazako says government understands the pain Malawians are going through due to rising prices of goods and services, but has appealed for patience.
He said this on Thursday in reaction to street protests Human Rights Ambassadors (HRA) held on Tuesday in Blantyre demanding the resignation of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima for allegedly failing to fulfil their election campaign promises.
In a written response, Kazako, who is the official government spokesperson, said the Tonse Alliance administration has never denied that prices for some goods and services have gone up.
He said: “We understand what they [protesters] are communicating. We understand the pain our nation is undergoing and experiencing. There are some things we can control, and others we cannot, as they border on global trends.
“If you listen to his inauguration speech, President Lazarus Chakwera made it very clear about the tough and rough times ahead. We are building a new Malawi with a new foundation and, certainly, some things will be disrupted in the process.
“The by-products of that disruption include pain for all as [we] adopt a genuine and sustainable means of running the national economy.”
Kazako said the country’s economy was previously managed in a “window dressing” manner by “creating a rosy picture using statistics when the reality on the ground was that the economy was rotting”.
According to Centre for Social Concern economic governance programme officer Bernard Mphepo, the average monthly expenditure for low income earners currently stands at K207 000.
He said government must consider increasing the minimum wage to cushion the people.
“The government must ensure availability of maize at a reasonable price and must strategise on long-term solutions to bring down cost of living in the country,” said Mphepo.
On Tuesday, HRA petitioned Chakwera to address the rising cost of living after marching from Old Town Hall in Blantyre to civic offices.
Besides demanding that Chakwera and Chilima should resign, HRA also asked Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani-Hara, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Anti-Corruption Bureau director Martha Chizuma to step down.
The group accuses the four of failing to defend the country’s Constitution.