Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has said its president Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate Mohammed Sidik Mia had to return “a kilometre away” from at Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) headquarters in Chiradzulu, where the Chilembwe Day commemorations were held, following a tip-off from the party’s intelligence team that he would not be safe there.
MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said Chakwera was invited to the event, held on Tuesday January 15 in memory of Malawi’s principal Martyr Reverend John Chilembwe, but failed to attend the, citing a “volatile” environment at the venue.
“We had our security people on the ground. From yesterday [Monday], they were monitoring the situation there, to ensure there is no risk on Dr Chakwera’s life and anybody who would come with him.
“What surprised us was that there were Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadets occupying all seats surrounding the two seats allocated to [Chakwera and his companion]. When our security people tried to reason with those in-charge of protocol, they refused to budge. Our security felt the situation was volatile and therefore, they advised [Chakwera] to return. At that time, we were just a kilometre away from PIM,” said Mkaka.
Mkaka also claimed that the church told the party that it had reserved 10 seats for Chakwera and his team but was surprised to learn from their security that State House only allocated two seats.
The MCP secretary general accused the DPP of politicising the national event.
PIM president Wilson Mitambo said he was surprised that Chakwera did not show up, saying Mkaka confirmed Chakwera’s attendance but did not communicate of his failure to attend.
Mitambo, however expressed disappointment with DPP party members for putting on their party regalia.
He said: “We communicated to all political parties which we invited that this is not a political event and that no one should wear party colours. But some DPP members did not listen, which is very unfortunate.”
Government set January 15 to commemorate the life of Chilembwe who was born in 1871 and died on February 3 1915.
During the commemorations, President Peter Mutharika led a selected contingent of people to lay wreaths on tombstones of martyrs who were part of Chilembwe’s uprising.
After Mutharika, the second on protocol to lay the wreaths was United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi, who is also Minister of Health in Mutharika’s Cabinet.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :