A leading member of the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) says the group is planning a series of nationwide protests after accusing President Joyce Banda of not effectively managing the country’s resources.
John Kapito says the planned demonstrations will be aimed at protesting what the group says are the sharp rise in the cost of living, the high inflation rate and uncontrolled fuel pricing.
He says Banda is not doing enough to create jobs and stimulate the nation’s economy.
“Right now our economic situation is quite pathetic. We expected to see some changes in terms of expenditure controls by the executive,” said Kapito.
“What has created some concern and panic,” Kapito continued, “is the floatation of the currency, which has created a wrong policy sequence between devaluation of the currency and floatation of the Kwacha [local currency]. It’s like having a free fall of the Kwacha on the local market against foreign currencies.”
He contends that the policy has created a sharp daily rise in prices of goods and services.
Kapito says Banda has also yet to keep her promise of getting rid of the expensive presidential jet as well as the luxury Mercedes Benz cars for ministers.
The group also says the president has yet to implement austerity measures to reduce spending. CAMA contends the economy cannot sustain Banda’s “excessive” local and international travels.
“What we are saying is what types of trip can [she] do that can add value to the current economic mess that we find ourselves in,” said Kapito.
Kapito says the planned demonstrations could be averted if the government engages his group to find solutions to the problems the country faces.
But supporters of the ruling People’s Party have rejected the accusations, saying Banda inherited a bad economy and the measures she has implemented will take more time to succeed.
Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu says the president has restored international donor confidence in Malawi.
“A lot of progress has been made [in] the [business] friendly environment that we have as a nation and all other reforms that are there. [Now] you find fuel in the filling stations and if you pass by the banks you find forex [foreign currencies]. So, these are indications that the president has done well and that she deserves to be applauded,” said Kunkuyu.
Clottey interview with John Kapito, CAMA leading official