The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) hierarchy on Tuesday launched an onslaught against quasi-religion Public Affairs Committee (PAC) over a major conference where a cross-section of Malawians will be discussing the future of the country at a hotel in the commercial capital, Blantyre.
Addressing a news conference at Crown Hotel in Lilongwe, presidential advisor Hetherwick Ntaba, DPP secretary general secretary general Greselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey, administrative secretary Francis Mphepo, member Ken Msonda, Minister Jappie Mhango, and legal advisor Charles Mhango condemned the five-plus-one conference which civil rights , religious leaders and academics will meet from Wednesday to discuss Malawi situation.
Mphepo said organisers of the meeting have sinister motives.
“They want a regime change. This conference is being sponsored by opposition parties to trigger calls for regime change,” claimed Mphepo.
He condemned PAC leadership, saying it is no longer religious but militant.
“They have lost their moral compass to lead the grouping,” he added.
On his part Ntaba said the governance watchdog wants to incite Malawians against government.
He said the conference wants to focus on negatives against government without giving the balanced views on the situation in Malawi.
Ntaba claimed PAC wants to use the conference to spark nationwide demonstration against government.
“Our strong intelligence confirms the evil plans where over 300 people will break into spontaneous protests around Mount Soche Hotel, the venue of the conference, with anti-government placards and messages,” explained Ntaba.
He further expressed fears that the intended riots could effect a replica of the infamous 20 July, 2011 protests under which over 20 innocent lives were lost.
According to Ntaba, among the 300 are residents of Blantyre to be drawn from Ndirande, Chilimba and Lunzu and other parts of Thyolo under Vincent Wandale’s People’s Land Organisation (PLO).
“We in the DPP would like to condemn PAC for devising such violent mechanism,” he criticized adding “The DPP wishes to caution PAC and its anti-government agents against causing anarchy and that PAC will be held accountable for any loss of life and property. PAC should not rekindle the sad memories of 20 July, 2011 tragic events.”
Wa Jeffrey claimed the conference is being funded by anti-government elements including opposition leaders.
She also warned PAC that DPP will not allow to be attacked at the conference as it has the Youth Cadets to deal with critics.
But PAC Executive Director Robert Phiri described the allegation as paranoia.
He said Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa) is the donor approached to fund the forthcoming conference.
Phiri said the conference apart from discussing a report on the feedback from the Fifth All-Inclusive Stakeholders’ Conference and chart the way forward, there will be major talking points on governance situation in the country.
“This will be the time to come up with practical ideas that can be implemented to pull the country out of the challenges it is facing,” Phiri said.
Phiri pointed out that there are increasingly worrying signs of the repression of critics.
Immediately before pro-democracy demonstrations on 20 July 2011, machete-wielding DPP Youth Cadets – a youth wing of the ruling party – were seen driving around the city of Blantyre threatening people to stop them from demonstrating against the government.
The youths would stop their vehicles in the middle of the roads, jump out and start symbolically sharpening their weapons against the tarmac.
As they did this, they chanted the now familiar DPP war-cry in Malawi’s lingua franca, Chichewa: “Onyoza boma sagona, timpweteka! (“Those opposing government will not sleep, we will deal with them!”).
The vehicles were the official blue open pick-ups complete with the DPP insignia.
This action limited the protests in Blantyre, but those in Lilongwe and Mzuzu took place and were met with a brutal response, with at least 19 deaths, hundreds injured and an unknown number detained.
During the forthcoming PAC conference, economist Henry Kachaje, who is one of President Mutharika’s most acerbic critics, and a University of Malawi speaker will make presentations on how corruption is affecting Malawi economy.
If the economy is suffering from the denial of aid and growth is being held back, then politically, Malawi also appears to be in recession, with a big dip in the democracy index.
Apparently, Ntaba and Mphepo were in the forefront misleading former president late Bingu wa Mutharika.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :