Munawwarah Islamic Organisation has condemned last week’s street demonstrations by primary school pupils in Malawi, alleging it was a political ploy.
The pupils staged the demonstrations in Blantyre and Lilongwe cities to push authorities to effect a pay hike for their teachers who alongside other civil servants were on strike demanding a 67 percent pay raise. However, government later the same Thursday effected a 61 percent salary hike for the lowest paid civil servants and five percent for the highest paid.
Chairperson of the organisation, Eric Jaffali Ali, claimed the pupils’ demonstration was a political ploy moving towards degeneration of individuals’ dignity and humanity for self-centredness and power-hungry politicians.
However, Ali refused to name individuals suspected to have influenced the pupils’ demonstration.
“If anyone so desires the political limelight, between now and the tripartite elections [in 2014], there is a long time. Let patience find a place in us until time has come for the nation to decide its leadership,” explained Ali at a press briefing in Blantyre also attended by Muslim Sisters’ youth.
He said young people are a reservoir of potential because they constitute a majority in society.
“However, by sowing the seed of hatred, vulgar language and uninvited obscenities, which were commonplace at the time of their little world of demonstration, is but creating a nation of social fragmentation, decay and anarchy,” said Ali.
“Whoever planned this desperate scheme must have been insensitive to the welfare of those innocent children as young as nine years, who did not even know the reason behind their mischief,” he added.
In an interview later, the Supreme Council of Ulama in Malawi spokesperson Sheikh Dinala Chabulika also condemned people for taking advantage of pupils to go to the streets to achieve hidden agendas.
He said the pupils are very young to go to the streets such that anything could have happened if police did not act professionally.
“We appreciate that people can stage demonstrations but they need to be responsible. They should not involve pupils,” he said.