The Peoples Party (PP) government might be treading on a thin line if they try to suppress the January CAMA protests as a majority of Malawians have indicated that the support the protests being organised by the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama).
CAMA is saying that the cost of living has sky-rocketed and govt is not doing enough to protect the ordinary citizens most of whom rely on farming that has had low yield this year.
Furthermore, there has been a noticeable trend of arrogance from Joyce Banda govt and this is infuriating the masses.
Peoples Party does not want to be seen as stifling peoples rights of expression, but on the other hand they don’t want these demonstrations to go ahead as it would be a PR disaster for the new govt which wants to distinguish itself from the autocracy of Bingu wa Mutharika.
So far govt spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu has been on CAMA’s case in issuing statements that try to discredit the boss of CAMA, outspoken John Kapito.
But many Malawians agree with Kapito and in a survey done by the Nation 58 percent of Malawians support the protests, which is actually a high number that should worry PP strategists. The Nation used a sample population of 1,713.
PP’s Kunkuyu is still failing to find the right words to respond to the threat of the protests and insists there is no proper reason to demonstrate and people should give time to the PP government.
“The right to demonstrate is enshrined in the Constitution, but we are questioning the rationale. If there was a survey ahead of the 20 July demonstrations, there would be 97 percent support for them, and this is an indication that Malawians are unsure of Kapito’s motives.
“More than 90 percent of civil society organisations are saying they are not part of the demos. Last year, by May, Malawians were aware of the exact places and security details of the demonstrations, but so far, we are 10 days from January and we do not know a thing about Cama’s demonstrations,” Kunkuyu charged.
Kunkuyu said the Joyce Banda administration will not counter the demonstrations. He said government respects the right to expression by citizens, but argued that the State needs to know the details so that it can provide security.
Cama executive director, John Kapito, was brisk in his reaction to the survey and Kunkuyu’s arguments.
Kapito refused to give the exact date of the demonstrations and said Cama would communicate when the time is ripe.
He also declined to respond to Kunkuyu’s remarks and said he was rushing into a meeting.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya said as much as he is not part of the demonstrations, the right to demonstrate is constitutionally guaranteed and that there is nothing like the right time to demonstrate.