Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire has condemned acts of violence that interrupted Gonapamuhanya Cultural festival in Rumphi district, describing the acts as detrimental to the country’s hard-earned democracy.
Youths, believed to be ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters, unleashed violence against opposition Malawi Congress Party officials, including the party’s President Lazarus Chakwera, who equally invited to the cultural festival.
Other political leaders who were invited to the ceremony are President Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of AFORD Enock Chihana and former Vice President Khumbo Kachali.
Mutharika was represented by Grace Chiumia, Minister of Him Affairs and Internal Security, who apologised for the regime terror.
The presence of opposition political parties, according to sources, did not please DPP cadets, who subsequently started pelting stones at them, injuring people and smashing vehicles in the process.
DPP cadets blocked Chakwera’s motorcade to the venue of the ceremony, Bolero Ground in Rumphi, forcing Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, who was irked with incident, had to personally whisk Chakwera into safety.
Following the incident, Bishop Malasa expressed concern over the accelerating violence incidences resulting from political differences.
“We do not need to be reminded that in 1993 Malawians chose democracy and surely that being the choice of Malawian, we accepted to live peacefully and to coexist with people who do not share our cultural and political affiliations, a thing which we seem to be slowly forgetting and if the recent acts of the violence are to go by our reasoning, surely that raises a lot of questions as if indeed our democracy is maturing or not?
“What sort of Malawi are we going to leave behind? What sort of lessons are we teaching our children if the recent acts are anything to go by? Have we chosen violence as opposed to peace?,” queried Malasa.
Malasa said as the church they value life, which he said, should be respected by all.
He called on government to bring all to book who may have caused all the mayhem in Rumphi.
The church leader pointed out that the rising political violence despite declarations made by all the political leaders to avoid such is of great concern. It still remains incumbent upon all the leaders of various political parties to restrain their utterances and those of their followers.