A network of concerned citizens chaired by businessperson Watson Katawa has emerged to counter the January 17 demonstrations planned by the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama).
The network has since called on Cama executive director John Kapito to give it a chance, arguing dialogue is the best way of voicing out problems Malawians are facing.
But Kapito and other planners of the demonstrations are on record as having rejected suggestions for dialogue and went ahead to fix a day for the nationwide demonstrations aimed at expressing concerns over the worsening economic situation which has affected most Malawians.
Briefing journalists in Mzuzu on Saturday, Katawa alleged Kapito “is being used by someone” to organise the demonstrations; hence, his refusal to dialogue. Katawa claimed if Kapito has solutions to economic problems facing the country, he should share them with the leadership of the country because the demonstrations will not provide answers
Katawa said by refusing dialogue, Kapito is not a worth leader. The network chair said if Kapito continues with the protests threats, he (Katawa) will reveal the person funding the Cama boss.
Said Katawa: “If he wants to demonstrate, let his family come first. I want to see his children and the rest of family members, be on the front. This man [Kapito] wants just to use us the youth for his personal gain.
“People are still mourning victims of the July 20 [2011 anti-government demonstrations] and we do not want any more bloodshed. It is very painful to lose a relative when there is room for dialogue.”
Katawa warned of unspecified action if the organisers succeed in mobilising people to demonstrate.
Another member of the network, Khumbo Mwaungulu, argued it is surprising that Kapito is reacting to effects of devaluation when he tirelessly pushed former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika to devalue the currency.
Spokesperson of the organising committee for the demonstrations, Kingsley Mabalani, on Thursday said the flotation of the kwacha should have been done only after certain conditions were achieved which include flexible exchange rate system to defend against speculative attacks and also prevent a free fall in the value of domestic currency relative to foreign currency.