An editorial comment in flagship weekly, Malawi News says the assault on Times Group journalist by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) hooligans at Parliament on Friday and intimidation of legislators has drowned President Peter Mutharika’s ‘message of hope’ contained In State-of-the Nation-Address (Sona).
“The ruling party saw the State of the Nation address to Parliament as an opportunity to proverbially wash its dirty linen in public and the results were the mayhem that happened which saw DPP parliamentarians such as Patricia Kaliati being roughed up for their perceived support of Vice President Saulos Chilima,” reads the comment.
The paper said it was “disturbing” as the chaos was compounded by DPP cadets manhandling journalist, Douglas Banda, while filming the party hooligans as they were being evicted from Parliament for disturbing proceedings.
“All this is coming just because the DPP cannot democratically settle the call by some of its own who feel the President is advanced in age to run again for presidency next year and should, instead, hand over the mantle to Chilima,” the paper said.
It advices of advice to find a democratic way to sort the power struggle.
DPP has also been told to look back into history of Malawi multiparty democracy and see whether Malawians have ever been cowed by violence and they will find none.
“What the party engineered Friday— hooliganism– has simply drowned the message of hope the President wanted to deliver to Malawians,” the paper concluded.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), led by Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence and Charles Kajoloweka, who last week also petitioned government over socio-economic and governance issues, said in a statement that the violence is a manifestation that the DPP tolerates violence as a tool to stifle dissenting views.
They said the assault on journalist Banda was not only an attack on media freedom but also an insult to Malawi’s hard–earned democracy.
They have since demanded the immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the acts of violence and an explanation on why the perpetrators of violent acts are left scot-free.
“We demand that President Peter Mutharika should publicly condemn these acts of violence immediately; and that he disciplines his party on the culture of terror and impunity. Failure to do so we vindicate assertions that he is either an accomplice to the scheme or is not in control of the state of affairs,” reads the statement in part.
Information and Communications Technology Minister Nicholas Dausi has admitted that the assault on Banda was unfortunate and must be condemned in strongest terms.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :