MEC, Malawi churches condemn political violence

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera has described the death of two people at Goliati in Thyolo following violence that erupted after the rally that  President  Joyce Banda conducted as very depressing and unacceptable especially coming at a time when the electoral body has not yet launched the official campaign period.

Justice Mbendera made the remarks in Lilongwe on Tuesday when he officially opened a validation meeting for Traditional Leaders code of conduct in the forthcoming tripartite elections in May 2014.

The development comes barely seven days before Parliament is dissolved and official campaign is kick started.

Justice Mbendera : Violence unacceptable
Justice Mbendera : Violence unacceptable

“Imagine that here in Malawi we are only 16 million people, we must allow diversity of opinion. What is depressing about Thyolo is the fact that we have not yet started the campaign period and here we are killing each other it’s a shame for Malawi. We cannot tolerate this and we as Malawians in unison we must stand against this. It’s a shame for us and it’s a shame for our leaders,” said Justice Mbendera.

He said every situation is avoidable arguing that there is no fight until one who has been punched hits back saying it doesn’t matter whether it was Peoples Party or Democratic Peoples Party or the people of Thyolo who started it; the incident should be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

In a related development the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) in a  statement has also condemned the violence that erupted in Thyolo saying all political parties are expected to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and to engage in mature politics characterized by an issue based campaign process.

“As a member of the Interfaith Electoral Initiative (IEI) that pools together all faith groups in ensuring that forthcoming tripartite elections are a success, the Council calls upon all political party leadership and supporters to restrain from politics of hatred and violence, concentrate more on peaceful and tolerant politics and a campaign based on issues,” reads the statement signed MCC’s Secretary General Rev. Dr Osborne Joda-Mbewe.

Rev Mbewe called upon the law enforcement and legal agencies in Malawi to investigate and take to book perpetrators of political violence at all levels saying Malawi belongs to all Malawians and should strive at all time to remain a God-fearing nation.

“The Council calls upon all its member churches and all Malawians to pray for a peaceful campaign period and successful elections. The Council extends its condolences to the families of the two people killed in the unwarranted violence as was experienced at Goliati. This kind of intolerance shall never and must never be tolerated at all costs by all peace loving Malawians,” reads the statement.

The victims of the Goliati incident were a Malawi Police officer Supt Cassim Julius and an unidentified civilian.

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