Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has swiftly condemned and disassociated himself from a statement issued by the party publicity secretary Maurice Munthali which urged people to be vigilant and apprehend Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) staff who were meeting poll presiding officers.
Chakwera condemned and disassociated himself from the statement as ordered by the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe to do so following a complaint from MEC legal team.
The MCP leader was ordered by the court to “publicly condemn and disassociate himself from the offending parts of the statement” issued by Munthali within 24 hours.
“While the statement may not have been wholly wrong in expressing wonderment and suspicion at the conduct on which Malawi Electoral Commission officials or agents had embarked, and therefore not condemnable omnibus, there were nonetheless parts of it which were capable of an offending meaning,” says Chakwera’s statement in part.
Chakwera is the second petitioner in the landmark elections case after Saulos Chilima, the president of UTM who want presidential election results nullified.
“For this reason, as a man in pursuit of justice and peaceful and lawful means, and without disowning the Honourable Reverend Maurice Munthali as publicity secretary of the party, I publicly condemn and disassociate myself from the parts of the statement which have been found to be offensive,” says Chakwera in the statement.
The court also strongly condemned MCP spokesman for his disgusting statement which among other things demanded that MEC lawyers and officials be apprehended while correcting evidence from presiding officers.
Munthali alleged that some district commissioners were working with MEC to coerce presiding officers and other stakeholders to sign what he termed ‘the clandestine’ result sheets in exchange for money.
“Reverend Munthali’s statement was at best careless and at worst it amounted to an incitement of mob vigilant action by communities against [MEC lawyers] and other officials,” said judge Dingiswayo Madise in the ruling.
The court said MCP spokesman statement was “unfortunate and uncalled for.”
The Constitutional Court further said such statements should never be made in course of a court case and especially where the matter is sensitive and evokes public emotions.
The court said while it appreciates that every person, including Reverend Munthali, has freedom of opinion and expression, “such freedoms have limitations.”
Making the ruling, the court said utterances that amount to incitement to unlawful hostility that interferes with court process “ do not enjoy the protection of freedom of expression.”
Both Chakwera and Chilima are asking the court to order a rerun following alleged presidential poll results manipulation in favour of president Peter Mutharika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :