Malawi Law Society (MLS) has called on political leaders to consider national dialogue over the state of the nation following the disputed May 21 presidential elections but governance expert has said there is need to be clear and specific on the agenda and objectives of the said dialogue.
The call for dialogue was first sounded by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa and has been backed by Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and other stakeholders including the media.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party say DPP’s dialogue offer is ill-timed.
MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali described Nankhumwa’s call for dialogue as suspicious and an insult.
Reads the statement in part: “The duplicitous act of having one DPP official like Hon. Nankhumwa calling for contact and dialogue on one platform while at the same time other DPP officials, including the DPP President, continue using other platforms to mock and malign the grievances of Malawian voters embodied in Dr. [Lazarus] Chakwera’s petition to the Constitutional Court, destroys any hope that this so called olive branch is not in fact a Trojan Horse.”
However, governance expert and commentators Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that calls for dialogue are welcome as long as they are embedded on trust, honesty and mutual respect rather than merely scoring a political point.
However, he said there is need to be clear and specific on the agenda and objectives of the said dialogue.
Furthermore, Munthali said it is also important to state that the said dialogue should not be viewed as a substitute to the current wave of accountability of the disputed elections.
“In other words, the two can be pursuing concurrently. At the end of the day, it is in the best interest of both DPP and the opposition that they know the truth about what happened with May 21 elections. Was the election rigged or not? These are some of the questions that may not be adequately addressed by the dialogue path but rather through accountability by Court processes and citizens demand for justice on the same,” said Munthali.
He also pointed out that it would signal lack of seriousness if the opposition only meet DPP Vice President Nankhumwa., saying MCP concerns are valid.
“With Mutharika and other officials sending conflicting messages to Nankhumwa, one wonders which DPP position is. Calls for dialogue would make much sense if they were made and led by President Mutharika. The said dialogue should be between Mutharika and the two opposition leaders Chakwera and Chilima,” he said.
He stressed that while calls for dialogue are welcome, they should not replace the current wave for accountability on what happened on May 21 Tripartite elections.
“Malawians want to know whether elections were rigged or not. It’s not just about pursuing peace and ensuring we have a stable economy. It is also about pursuing the truth and Justice on the matter,” said Munthali.
He continued: “As rightly observed by Nankhumwa former Presidents and Vice Presidents just like other respected members of the society can intervene in dialogue. However, what is crucial is whether such individuals have yield trust and respect from both camps
“Of course, on Bakili Muluzi it may be a bit tricky because of his recent perceived association with the current government. The same applies to Joyce Banda because of her close association with MCP. Perhaps it’s only Justin Malewezi who may have a strong moral ground to intervene.”
And the Law Society in a letter to political leaders supported dialogue provided such negotiations is conducted with mutual respect, collective security and common interest in mind.
“The Law Society reckons that any political settlement reached at such negotiations can easily be managed into the legal dispute that, by its nature, currently hold the nation in a position of uncertainty,” reads the MLS letters signed by its honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde.
A five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court is on July 29 set to start hearing a petition filed by Chilima and Chakwera seeking nullification of the presidential election results over alleged irregularities, especially in the result management system.
HRDC continues to organise a series of protests to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairwoman Jane Ansah, and her commissioners to resign for presiding over a flawed election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :