Overzealous members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) attempted to block Balaka West legislator Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri from attending an official function because the former first lady is exercising her constitutional right to freely associate with a political grouping other than DPP.
Shanil recently joined the United Transformation, movement (UTM) that is promoting the presidential ticket of Vice-president Saulos Chilima in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
She is one of the key women who contributed significantly in the fight against one-party dictatorship by supporting the underground movement of pro-democracy activist led by her former husband Bakili Muluzi – who later governed the country from 1994 to 2004.
On Saturday, Shanil stood her ground against DPP zealots to leave the taxpayer funded relief food distribution event in her constituency which was presided by Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security Joseph Mwanamvekha at Kankwawo Primary School ground.
DPP chanted disparaging songs against Shanil but the legislator who won her parliamentary seat in 2014 as an independent candidate was not moved and was seen queering Mwanamvekha at the event.
Let by district governor Francis Mangadzuwa, DPP zealots demanded: “Let her go or else patelera pano [there will be trouble.”
But Shanil said she could not be intimidated, saying she is the one who single-handedly reported to Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) that hunger was biting in Balaka District.
“I was invited by the minister [Mwanamvekha] to this event,” she said.
Shanil said DPP should not intimidate people, saying people like her have faced worst forms of political persecution before and fought for democracy hence can’t be moved.
“Some of us will not be intimidated,” she said.
Police and DODMA official s negotiated with the DPP ruffians to allow Shanil to stay because it was a government event.
But the DPP officials ordered the removal of Shanil and other politicians from the list of speakers at the event.
Minister Mwanamvekha was accompanied by the Secretary for Agriculture, irrigation and water development Grey Nyandule Phiri and the Secretary and commissioner for disaster Enerst Kantchetche at the maize distribution.
Dodma is distributing 432 729 bags of maize (21 636.5 metric tonnes) to 432 729 food-insecure households in Blantyre, Neno, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Mwanza, Machinga, Mangochi, Balaka, Zomba, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Karonga, Mzimba, Rumphi, Chitipa, Dowa, Mchinji, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dedza, Ntcheu, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota and Salima districts.
During the 2017/18 farming season, Malawi experienced prolonged dry spells and a severe outbreak of fall armyworms which rendered an estimated 3.3 million households food-insecure.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :