Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima has rebuked President Peter Mutharika for failing to take action on political violence asking him to be a Head of State for all not a few of his cronies.
Addressing a highly anticipated news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Chilima , who is also UTM Party torchbearer for the May 21 Tripartite election, said Mutharika should ‘discipline his boys’ in the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and rise above party politics.
“I wish to remind Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika that Malawi belongs to all of us. Not to the few around you. You are the President of all people not of the few henchmen around you,” said Chilima.
“Mr. President, the police in Malawi is there to protect innocent people and not to protect criminals!”
“You cannot, Mr. President, allow your few supporters to break the law with arrogance, impunity and then shamelessly stand on a podium to preach peace. This hypocrisy must stop. You cannot stand on podium and advocate peaceful elections and at the same time close your eyes to the realities of the ugliness of uncivility of violence from your camp,” said Chilima.
“Our message to you today is this simple:We have had enough of rhetoric from political podiums. We want action from you and we call for an end to political violence once and for all. You have no excuse. Arise and act,” said a confident Chilima.
He also had a message for the perpetrators of violence.
“To all the perpetrators of violence, let me warn you, May is not too far. Your godfathers will soon be out of power. They will be either on the streets with you or in jail. There will be no one, absolutely no one, to protect you. And we shall come on you hard,” said Chilima.
He said many of his supporters have asked him to retaliate but he has stopped them since UTM is a peaceful party.
“In fact, if we were to let our followers retaliate, of which they have been asking me to, you would be completely and thoroughly outnumbered. We know you and we can come after you. We can defend ourselves. But we are a peaceful party and a peaceful people and that is why we leave it to the law enforcement agencies to properly investigate these cases and prosecute the offenders,” said Chilima.
Chilima’s statement comes a day after scores of women from diverse backgrounds, including civil society organisations (CSOs) and politics, staged a peaceful march on Tuesday to denounce political violence against women.
The petition contained specific demands to duty-bearers, including President Peter Mutharika, Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose and Minister of Gender, Children and Disability and Social Welfare Cecilia Chazama.
In the petition, the women argue that the cases of violence, especially against women, undermines the President’s status as a HeForShe champion, saying: “Having sworn to protect and uphold the Constitution, Mr President we want your visible, tangible action and protection of women in politics.”
Mutharika last week condemned the cases of violence, but fell short of condemning suspected DPP youth cadets accused of perpetrating the violence on members of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party.
In the past two weeks, the country registered a number of political violence cases, including the assault of Mulanje South legislator and UTM director of youth Bon Kalindo, attack on UTM members including Veronica Katanga who was ordered to take off her party regalia, assault of MCP supporter Edward Govati in Blantyre and the torching of MCP flags in Mangochi.
Malawi will holt watershed polls on May 21. The country has held competitive elections since 1993, when the repressive one-party regime of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who ruled for three decades after independence, ended.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :