Kaliati chased at DPP meeting for ‘careless’ speech

DPP National Director of Women, Patricia Kaliati, had a rude awakening when her scheduled campaign meeting in Ntcheu ended abruptly following protests by villagers against what they deemed was an inappropriate speech by the Mulanje West parliamentarian.

Newly-appointed Director of Operations and Fieldwork in the DPP, Ben Phiri has assigned Kaliati to take charge of election campaign in four districts of Ntcheu, Balaka, Chikhwawa and Neno ahead of the May 20, 2014 Tripartite Elections.

Last Sunday, Kaliati undertook to address a campaign meeting in Chipinga Village (Group Village Headman Harry) in T/A Ganya’s area in Ntcheu when she remarked about the DPP being the only political party in the country that ensures that families are always food secure.

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Kaliati: Bolted

“Do you eat a lock? You can’t; you eat maize,” said Kaliati, apparently scorning at the governing People’s Party (PP), which has an open lock with a key as its symbol.

The DPP’s official symbol is a set of five maize cobs.

Kaliati, who was accompanied by parliamentarian for the area (Ntcheu Bwanje North), Steven Kamwendo, among other officials, went further to utter disparaging remarks against the President of the Republic, Joyce Banda and her PP Government, claiming they had failed Malawians in as far as food security was concerned.

The crowd did not want any more of that talk, arguing that lately, there was enough food on the market at household level.

“It started with murmurs of disapproval from the sizeable crowd. Then when the murmurs grew louder, Kaliati was forced to retake her seat as she could not communicate anymore.

“In an attempt to calm the situation, Kamwendo inflamed the already volatile situation when he insisted that Kaliati be given an opportunity to speak further. The people demanded Kaliati should go, instead. Under heavy security, she was whisked to her car which sped away. It was apparent if she stayed on, she could have been manhandled by the angry villagers,” a DPP Ntcheu Bwanje District Committee member who witnessed the events.

Kaliati is no stranger to controversy. She is renowned for her unfriendly, tough stance and talk against President Banda. They both served as ministers in the former and late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s Government from 2004.

In 2009, when Mutharika won his second term, Banda became State Vice President and when Mutharika died on April 5, 2011, Banda ascended to the post of President of the Republic.

Kaliati was fired as Information Minister by the new Head of State and was replaced by the youthful Moses Kunkuyu on April 12, 2011.

The new President had justified her decision to replace Kaliati by saying “it was necessary to restore the lost integrity at the ministry”.

Kaliati, popularly known as ‘Akweni’ among her adorers, was notorious for her careless and casual approach to handling government information. A case in point was when she assertively insisted that president Bingu wa Mutharika was still alive when the entire world knew he was dead after a cardiac arrest.

She had vehemently argued that the then Vice President Joyce Banda could not ascend to the presidency “because she had formed her own opposition party”.

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