Human rights campaigners in Malawi have expressed concern over the latest outbreak of political violence in the country and condemned Police for not providing security service in dealing with the Sunday attacks at a solidarity rally Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera held in Mzuzu city.
Chakwera, Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Enoch Chihana, PP third vice-president Kamlepo Kalua and other opposition members of Parliament (MPs) were subjected to attacks by panga wielding rough necks sat Chibavi Primary School ground in the northern city.
Two people were injured in the fracas and some vehicles smashed but Police officers were nowhere to be seen as this happened yet the parties said they had informed them about the meeting.
The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) said on Tuesday that they are dismayed with the Mzuzu political violence.
The opposition alleged that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had a hand in the violence but the DPP has denied responsibility.
“We would like to strongly condemn these barbaric acts, and reiterate that such acts have no room in the current democratic dispensation,” reads a joint statement, CHRR and Cedep made available to Nyasa Times.
The statement signed by CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively, the two human rights said it is sad that the current crop of politicians seems not to have learnt that the use of terror and violence against political foes is not only retrogressive in as far as promotion of intra-party and inter-party tolerance is concerned but also portrays a negative picture of the people behind such systematically organised violence – politicians thriving on a reign of terror in order to suppress any opposition or dissent views.
“These recent events remind us of the 2011 saga where some ruling [DPP] cadets – carrying pangas- paraded in Blantyre threatening people against participating in the demonstrations, and also prior to Muluzi’s third term bid where young democrats instilled fear in the political opponents of the regime. It is therefore surprising to us to see the return of this primitive culture,” reads the statement.
The two human rights organisations called upon the Police to bring the perpetrators “including their masters” to justice.
The rights defenders also condemned Police for not intervening to protect opposition members at the scene of violence despite being informed in good time by the political parties.
“We are reliably informed that the Police turned up after the event had ended. This must be categorically condemned in the strongest terms, as it has the potential of eroding the public trust in the police.
“The Malawi Police Service is there to serve every Malawian including those in opposition, and such negligence as it happened in Mzuzu must be avoided at all cost,” reads the statement.
CHRR and Cedep have also appealed to political parties in the country to soberly and rationally reflect on intra-party and inter-party tolerance and democracy in the country.
“These are the ideals which we should pursue as a country rather than resolving to primitive politics of hate and violence,” said the two organisations.
Malawi Law Society is on record condemning political violence saying it “ breeds political instability and this in turn affects a number of developmental issues, including investor confidence and respect for human rights.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :