The Public Affairs Committee (Pac), the country's most influential inter- denomina¬tional grouping, has said it is not supporting anti-government demonstrations being or¬ganised by Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) slated for January 17.
Pac says dialogue with government has already started paying dividends and they would like to continue with that.
Pac chairperson Sheikh Imran Sherriff told The Sunday Times Saturday that the quasi-religious grouping has been encouraged by President Joyce Banda's response to some of their concerns.
Sherriff was referring to resolutions reached after Pac's conferences in March and October this year which spelt out a number of governance demands for the governments of late President Bingu wa Mutharika and the in¬cumbent Banda.
"After we came up with resolutions at these two conferences, we presented them to the President," he said. "From what we see, President Banda has now cut both her external and internal tours and her government has also put in place measures to reduce expenditure. We welcome such a response from the President."
Sheriff said it was disconcerting to note that people want to start the New Year on a negative note with the January 17 demonstrations.
"We strongly feel that if we continue engaging government in dialogue we are going to achieve something positive. We have a feeling that 2013 is a year of hope," he said, adding: "We don't think it is good to be pessimistic. We need to be optimistic about the future."
But Cama, led by its executive director John Kapito, has put its foot down that it is going ahead with the street protests. Kapito argues that the Joyce Banda administration is arrogant and extravagant.
Cama, together with the Council for Non-governmental Organizations of Malawi (Congoma), are demanding - among other things - the immediate halt of the floatation of the kwacha which they believe has helped to fuel the current economic hardships.
Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe has said the economy is likely to recover within the next eleven months. Soon after taking over office in April following the sudden death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika President Banda said the economy needed an injection of US $1 billion to recover within 18 months.