DPP has violence in its DNA – Malawi newspaper columnist

[highlight style=’pear-green’] One of influential newspaper columnist, George Kasakula has tackled the issue of Thyolo political violence in his My Diary column published in the Weekend Nation newspaper which Nyasa Times reproduces here: [/highlight]

It was wrong for Health Minister Catherine Gotani Hara to be insensitive to an incendiary situation and say things that she knew the locals at Goliati in Thyolo would not like to hear.

It was wrong for PP thugs to attack Peter Mutharika’s personal assistant Ben Phiri at Mount Soche Hotel in apparent hitting back for the violence in Thyolo.

But when all is summed up, the DPP cannot run away from this fact: They are a party that does not respect human life and are ready to take it if it stands in their way to power.

DPP thugs brandishing pangas threatening anyone against the party will not sleep, we will hurt him
DPP thugs brandishing pangas threatening anyone against the party will not sleep, we will hurt him

For this they bear responsibility for the loss of two lives in Thyolo and all the violence that has followed that incident. While others were merely verbal, DPP initiated the physical violence that followed.

It is an open secret that every party in this country has strongholds. MCP can lay claim that the Central Region is its bedrock. PP and UDF can say the same of Mangochi, Machinga and Zomba. As for the DPP, it is the Lomwe belt of Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe and part of Chiradzulu.

Yet, credit to all other parties, DPP leaders have never been victims of violence in the Central Region, Eastern Region or indeed Northern Region. They have conducted rallies, whistlestops and God- knows-what else but nobody unleashes violence on them.

Why should Thyolo, then, be an island where nobody else should go to campaign merely because Peter Mutharika comes from there?

And how does this help DPP, a party that wants to rule Malawi once again? Can Peter Mutharika win an election with votes from Thyolo only? Does he not need to campaign in other parts of the country? What if the other parties decide to mobilise their supporters too and unleash violence on him? What will that mean to this country?

Was it not only last year when UDF’s Atupele Muluzi also experienced the wrath of DPP violence in Thyolo?

But let me cut to the chase. DPP has violence in its DNA. The impression I have of the party is that it is not afraid to sacrifice some lives for its own sake. During its rule, it unleashed violence on innocent people.

Lest we forget, the DPP-led government ruthlessly cut down the young lives of 20 defenceless and unarmed youths on July 20, 2011 for merely protesting against bad gover-nance.

The former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika on several occasions called the DPP youths to arms, chiding them that they did not defend him enough in the face of rising dissatisfaction against his then dictatorial rule.

During that time critics of DPP rule were subjected to harassment and intimidation in form of beatings, threats and their houses mysteriously burnt.

DPP functionaries could even go to Road Traffic Directorate to look for details for vehicles belonging to critics, among them journalists, with the aim of unleashing violence on them. Critics of the DPP administration became strangers and pariahs in their own country.

I would have thought by now the DPP has reformed and would renounce this past of violence and brutality. But here it is, forming bastions and no-go zones for other parties.

I shudder to imagine this. If supporters of DPP can attack and stone a sitting President with State protection, what chance does a branch chairperson of another party stand in Thyolo?

But DPP must know this. The people that it is willing to sacrifice by sending them to ‘war’ are not merely statistics. The two people that died in Thyolo are real people with families and children.

As I write this, two women have become widows and six children have become fatherless from nowhere and in a senseless manner. I am sure the two men left their homes on that Sunday morning with a promise to their families that they would be back in the evening. They came back dead, all because DPP was trying to prove a point that Thyolo is no-go zone for other parties.

At the end of it all, Malawians must ask themselves on May 20 whether such a party that has violence in its DNA is fit to govern this country again, especially when there are other peaceful alternatives that seem to respect human life.

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