Consumer rights activist John Kapito claims Malawi police have warned him that he risks arrest should ugly scenes happen during the planned consumers’ demonstrations on Thursday.
Kapito, who is executive director of the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) and has been deserted by two key organising committee members, told journalists in Blantyre on Monday that he would not retreat despite the police threats.
He said should those ugly scenes come to pass, he would offer his hands to be handcuffed.
Kapito charged: “I am not a coward. I will not be in hiding. I have always told my family this is what I have wanted to do, to fight for people’s rights and such situations are inevitable. This job requires someone with a strong will.”
Malawi Police Service national spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo said she did not have any information that Kapito was warned of an arrest should the demonstrations go violent.
Kapito claims he has been receiving several telephone calls from ruling People’s Party (PP) politicians, including President Joyce Banda’s senior special assistant on special duties the Reverend Malani Mtonga to cancel the demonstrations.
Mtonga in an interview on Monday admitted telephoning Kapito and reasoning with the Cama boss to cancel the nationwide consumer demonstrations set for 17 January.
PP publicity secretary Hophmally Makande earlier on Monday also admitted meeting MacXiting Mdoka, chairperson of the organising committee of the demonstrations in the Southern Region, who left his position at the Cama news conference.
Both Makande and Mdoka denied that money changed hands.
But Kapito at the news conference said it is police’s role to provide security, arguing Cama is not a security institution.
Meanwhile, one of the organisers of the demonstrations in the Eastern Region, Dr Jessie Kabwila, said in an interview the Zomba group would travel to Blantyre to join the demonstrations because no notices were served to authorities in Zomba.