Opposition leader in parliament Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday ra received a rousing welcome at at the elevation of Chief Kabudula ceremony in Lilongwe where President Peter Mutharika attended.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president was cheered wildly in full view of the government officials.
MCP supporters lined up for about a kilometre to welcome their leader as they chanted songs in his praise.
After Chakwera took his seat, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters, who were ferried to the ceremony in trucks unlike their MCP counterparts, took to the same dusty road to welcome their leader President Peter Mutharika who elevated chief Kabudula to senior chief.
In his salutations, Mutharika never acknowledged the presence of the MCP leader, the head of state’s arch political rival.
Chakwera came second during the 2014 election with 28 per cent of the vote cast while Mutharika had 36 per cent of the vote.
The leader of opposition was also not allowed to speak.
Despite being a government function, DPP secretary general Ecklen Kudontoni was given the podium and in usual DPP foul-mouthing style, he castigated the opposition that they have nothing to offer in the country.
He asked all traditional leaders to pledge their allegiance to the government not to opposition.
In his speech, Mutharika called on traditional leaders to chase away opposition leaders seeking to hold rallies in their areas.
Political commentators and Malawians writing in social media have condemned the President for the remarks, saying he is now becoming arrogant, intolerant and dictatorial, tenets that characterised the last term of office of his brother, Bingu, before his sudden death in 2012 and the subsquent dramatic though sorrowful fall of his regime, pushing the DPP into opposition for two solid years.
However, there were no incidents of clashes between the supporters of the sworn rivals and the ceremony ended peacefully.
Local government minister Kondwani Nankhumwa was scheduled to elevate the chief but Mutharika was brought in when it was known that Chakwera would grace the ceremony. The area, just like most parts in the central region, is the stronghold of the MCP.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :