Malawi’s escalating political tension stemming from disputed presidential elections has worried envoys of various government who have issued a joint statement calling for unity and respect for the rule of law “at this important moment in the country’s history.”
The statement made available to Nyasa Times, the envoy’s of United States of America, United Kingdon, European Union (EU), Japan, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Iceland state, Nigeria , Tanzania said their governments are committed to supporting Malawi to achieve its goals of democracy and development.
The envoys’ said they have watched the rising political tensions with growing concern.
“We believe that in order for Malawi’s progress towards a stronger and more inclusive democracy to be deepened, it is critically important to refrain from using inflammatory language, and to show restraint when it is used by others,” they advised.
They have further called on Malawians to work together to “deescalate the situation and focus on the common history and experiences that unite Malawians which are far greater than what divides them.”
The envoys also urge all political parties, the civil society, religious and traditional leaders, and all peace-loving Malawians to deeply reflect on the principles of national policy under the Constitution of Malawi especially the one which calls for peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiation, good offices, mediation, conciliation and arbitration.
“ This is the time for dialogue and peacebuilding, not deepened divisions which could undermine the unity of the country,” reads the statement.
The foreign government stated that it is equally important for everyone to respect the rule of law at this important moment in the country’s history.
“This means abiding by both the letter and the spirit of the law and the Constitution, and for authorities to be upholding it consistently in all cases,” the statement said
The envoys said they welcome the commitment of all of the main political parties to abide by the verdict of the Constitutional Court on 3 February 2020, and the judgement that the Supreme Court will issue after hearing the appeal against that verdict in April.
“We call on political leaders to reaffirm their confidence in the judiciary, their willingness to find common ground, and their commitment to democratic norms and values.”
Political tensions started rising in May last year when opposition leaders rejected election results that showed President Peter Mutharika winning a second term.
Since then, a civil rights group, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, has led protests pushing for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah for mismanaging the polls which the constitutional court and parliament also reaffirmed.
Authorities say the protests, vandalism and violence have affected the country’s development.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :