Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera on Monday met Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General Rodney Jose on Monday on the rising incidents of politically motivated acts of violence perpetrated by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ahead of the watershed May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
DPP has since distanced itself from the cases of political violence with party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi stating that the perpetrators could be “people masquerading as DPP” supporters.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, said he expressed to Jose the opposition concern whose members continue to be verbally and physically assaulted by the DPP youth cadets.
“I sought to impress upon the Inspector General the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for action through the deployment of law enforcement agents to restore the rule of law on the political landscape,” said Chakwera.
He said it is not that these acts of violence by DPP cadets have happened in secret to necessitate a long investigation before the perpetrators can be brought before justice.
“The ruling party’s culture of violence, which is a clear and present danger to both the public’s safety and its confidence in the police ability to guarantee the security and liberty on which the integrity of the democratic process of our elections is based, is now a matter of public and historic record,” said Chakwera.
The opposition leader disclosed that he told the IG that the DPP thugs have become so brazen and emboldened in their attacks that they do it all over the country, saying they do it on any opposition party; they do it without restraint and they do it with intent of inflicting maximum damage and instilling terror.
“At times, they have done it in full view of police officers and the state president and the state vice president, fully confident that they are above the law and immune from prosecution,” said the MCP leader.
This year alone, roughnecks suspected to be DPP youth cadets have assaulted UTM director of youth Bon Kalindo in Mulanje, harassed and forced UTM supporters—including a woman—to undress in Mangochi and beat up Malawi Congress Party (MCP) operative Edward Govati in Blantyre.
“It is ruling party cadets who have severely beaten up Mr. Govati of MCP at his home last night in Blantyre. It is ruling party cadets who stripped members of UTM in Mangochi. It is ruling party cadets who threatened me and my delegation with violence and barred us from attending the Chilembwe Memorial in Chiradzulu. It is ruling party cadets who disrupted a UTM meeting in Mulanje. It is ruling party cadets who disrupted the very house of parliament in Lilongwe,” said Chakwera.
The MCP leader said Jose has assured him that the police efforts are underway to decisively deal with the dangerous trends.
Chakwera then calls upon the opposition to refrain from retaliation, saying they should instead end the reign of terror with their vote at the ballot box.
The meeting of Chakwera and Jose comes after the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has demanded the Inspector General of police to resign for allegedly allowing partisan politics and tolerating political violence.
The HRDC letter accuses the police boss of failing to provide decisive leadership in addressing political violence that is becoming more pronounced as Malawi heads towards the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Signed by chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence, HRDC expressed dismay at how the MPS has taken a laissez faire approach in dealing with political violence, especially when the victims belong to opposition parties.
Jose also said it was wrong to claim that the police are doing nothing to deal with these cases.
He said: “When incidences of political violence happen, I get very concerned. But you and me, let’s also face facts and be very objective. Do you seriously think that making arrests will stop these things for good? There is a lot more that needs to be done.”
Towards the end of last year, MEC led by its chairperson Jane Ansah engaged political leaders—including Mutharika, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, Joyce Banda of PP and Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF)—in face-to-face meetings to commit to an issue-based and violence-free election campaign to ensure a free, fair and credible election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :