United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi has condemned the political violence with opposition members of the UTM party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) being victims as tensions are rising in Malawi ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Muluzi, who is also Minister of Health, is the only person in the 20-member President Peter Mutharika cabinet to speak out against for the current wave of political violence which has left scores of people severely injured.
In a statement, Muluzi, says he condemns any forms of violence.
“Whether it is spreading disinformation to incite hate or it is physical violence against those of a different political allegiance, it has no place in our beautiful Malawi,” says the statement in part posted on social media as seen by Nyasa Times.
Muluzi says if Malawi is to flourish as a nation, it will be when Malawians are united as a people and in support of a solid plan, saying to get to that stage, Malawians must listen and hear all points of view regardless of where it comes from.
“That cannot be achieved unless we work to be tolerant and respectful of all brothers and sisters. We must now bring the aggressors to justice and ensure we work together to uphold the rule of law and a peaceful Malawi,” says Muluzi.
His comments have however drawn mixed reactions with others saying he is part of the Mutharika government as he is serving the executive arm of government as a cabinet minister therefore he has an open line to the President himself.
Some, however, have applauded him for condemning the violence.
Mutharika and his DPP have remained silent on the matter.
Last week, the quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) used strong language to condemn acts of violence perpetrated by the DPP cadets, calling it DPP terrorism.
“This is not the democracy we wanted. This is not what we voted for. The perpetrators must be arrested if we are to have free, fair and credible election,” said PAC spokesperson Peter Mulomole.
He called on the DPP leadership to take action against those perpetrating political violence.
Mustafa Hussein, a political scientist who teaches at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, described the violence as retrogressive in the democratic era.
He said: “In a democracy, every party or political organisation has a right to conduct rallies anywhere they want provided they follow procedures. This behaviour is uncalled for and has no room.”
But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the governing party does not associate itself with violence.
For a long time, Mangochi and the entire Eastern Region, which also includes Zomba, Machinga and Balaka, have politically been regarded as the stronghold of the former governing UDF largely owing to the fact that the party’s founding president and first multiparty Head of State Bakili Muluzi comes from Machinga.
However, in the 2009 General Elections DPP made inroads into the area and won some parliamentary seats before People’s Party (PP)—led by former president Joyce Banda who comes from Zomba—also won some seats in the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.
In the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, UDF won six of the 12 parliamentary seats in Mangochi while PP won one and independents had five. In Machinga, UDF won five of the seven seats, PP and an independent one each, while in Balaka UDF won one seat, DPP two and an independent one.
In Zomba, on the other hand, PP won five seats, DPP three and independents two.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :