Street demonstrations against economic hardships will take place on January 17 next year, organisers of the protests under the leadership of Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) announced on Monday.

Spokesperson for the organising committee Kingsley Mabalani said in an interview that the date was agreed upon at a meeting held in Blantyre yesterday.

“We have agreed that the demonstrations should be held on January 17, 2013 starting from 8am in the three regions: south, centre and north.

“In the Southern Region, we are expecting to gather at ITG in Limbe and we shall walk down the highway to Blantyre Old Town where we are expecting to meet another gathering and together we shall present our petition to the District Commissioner,” Mabalani said.

He said the committee was yet to decide on routes to be taken in the centre and the north as they are still consulting consumers there.

Regarding their petition, Mabalani said it is consumer-centred, asking the government to address problems the consumers in the country are facing following the flotation of the kwacha, which has resulted in rising inflation and escalating cost of living.

He could not, however, spell out the actual seven points in the petition, saying the committee wants it to reach the intended recipient first before making the contents public.

Mabalani said they would be notifying authorities on the proposed date as recommended and expressed hope that they will not be blocked from demonstrating peacefully.

“The letter to the authorities will be just informing them as we are not necessarily supposed to ask for permission. We’re sure there will be no stumbling block as our Constitution provides for holding peaceful demonstrations,” he said.

Cama Executive Director John Kapito has been in the forefront agitating for the demonstrations so that the current leadership addresses hardships consumers in the country are facing.

The government is, however, on record condemning Kapito, accusing him of pursuing a personal agenda against the current leadership after it did not appoint him for any high position.

Kapito has stated he is against the floatation and not necessarily the devaluation of the kwacha.

He also wants President Joyce Banda to cut foreign and local travel in keeping with austerity measures instituted by her government.

However, Banda has insisted she will stick to monetary policies agreed with the International Monetary Fund, as any reversal would be disastrous to the economy.

She has also stated she will continue travelling locally to, among other things, distribute flour to the hungry.

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