HomeNewsPlanned protests raise British concern

Planned protests raise British concern

Opposition groups have given the president a Wednesday deadline to listen to their demands, promising a fresh wave of protests if he does not address the chronic poverty that has ensnared most of the southern African country’s 13 million people.

“I remain concerned about the situation in Malawi,” Hague said in a statement. “I call on all parties to exercise restraint over the coming days.”

Protesters last month staged unprecedented rallies against the president that left 19 dead and led to international rebuke.

Civil rights groups want Mutharika to explain his personal wealth, address foreign exchange and fuel shortages that have battered the economy and to seek reconciliation with Britain, which froze aid after a diplomatic spat.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, has presided over six years of high-paced but aid-funded growth. He has threatened to “smoke out” those opposed to his rule.

He was embroiled a few months ago in a row with Britain, Malawi’s biggest donor, over a leaked embassy cable that referred to him as “autocratic and intolerant of criticism”.

The cable led to the expulsion of Britain’s ambassador to Lilongwe. Britain then expelled Malawi’s envoy to London and suspended aid worth US$550 million over the next four years.

—Reuters

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