BLANTYRE -As the countdown to January 17 nationwide consumersâ€™ demonstrations against economic hardship in Malawi continues, Cama has reported Rastafari for Unity to police for blackmail.
The group madeÂ a claim last week at a news conference in Lilongwe and repeated the same in an interview that the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) offered them K400 000 (about $1 176) to join the demonstrations.
President of the group Ras Judah 1, real name Charles Liomba, claimed in the Monday interview that someone from Cama, using a cellphone with a hidden caller identity, called him and offered K350 000 (about $1 029) and later adjusted it to K400 000 for the group to woo Rastas to join the demonstrations.
He said he turned down the offer because they did not want a repeat of July 20 2011 scenario where people lost lives and property during the demonstrations against late president Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s regime.
The group said it was an insult to those who lost beloved ones during the July 20 2011 anti-government protests for anyone to call for nationwide demonstrations now when the July 20 inquiry findings stated that police did not have capacity to handle such demonstrations.
But an irate Cama executive director John Kapito said in an interview on Tuesday the group has a hidden motive, dismissing claims that any Cama official offered the group money.
He said: â€œI went to police last Friday to complain and one of our officers was expected to have his statement recorded today at SouthernÂ Region Police Headquarters. We know this group has an ill motive.
â€œWe never approached any group for the demonstrations. If we did not approach Malawi Congress of Trade Unions, who are they?â€
But Judah 1 insisted Cama offered them money, arguing his group came up with a position not to join the demonstrations to maintain the prevailing peace.
Judah 1 said: â€œWhat makes Consumers Association of Malawi think police have now the capacity to control crowds?â€