A group calling itself Youth Development Forum (YDF) has accused organisers of the planned 17 January demonstrations in Malawi of jumping the gun as dialogue has not been given a chance.
YDF, which claims to be a compendium of young achievers from different businesses, political parties and the academia, said this through a statement issued at a news conference held at Pacific Hotel in Lilongwe on Thursday.
Reads the statement in part: “Our opinion and view is that arguments being advanced by Messrs Kapito/Cama are genuine, but the demonstrations are not a solution. Messrs Kapito/Cama seem to have jumped the gun since there has not been any dialogue and the government has not been given a chance to exhaust all its planned economic recovery activities.”
The group also cautioned Cama that it risks weakening its role and stamina if it goes on to stage the demonstrations and criminals hijack the protest to loot businesses as well as opposition leaders use it to advance their personal political agendas.
The group says the youth, being 60 percent of the population, are also hit by the economic woes; hence, the call for a consultative meeting with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to discuss the issues.
YDF, chaired by Clement Bangala, called on Cama to stand down, citing the fact that other organisations such as the Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) have proposed dialogue as the panacea.
Further reads the statement: “In the present economic situation, we propose that through the public private partnership, we set up small and medium enterprises as a solution and this will be a road map of our discussions with the Ministry of Youth and Sport Development.”
Last week, organisers of the demonstrations issued a six-point petition to be presented to President Joyce Banda. The petition is giving the President 14 days from the date of submission to respond to issues raised.
Among other issues, the organisers said they want an immediate stop of the floatation of the kwacha, a stop on foreign and local travel by the President, her Vice-President Khumbo Kachali and the Cabinet as well as the sale of the presidential jet.
Other demands include declaration of assets by the President and the Vice-President and the trimming of the Cabinet. They are also accusing government of covering up corruption.
Kapito is quoted as having said they resorted to demonstrations because government has failed to act on issues previously raised by citizens. On its part, government has pleaded for patience as it sorts out the mess created by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime under the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.