Minister Mtambo calls for ceasefire among M’baluku and Msundwe residents

The Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo has made an impassioned appeal to residents of M’baluku in Mangochi and Msundwe in Lilongwe to desist from exchanging provocative statements, stressing that this could be recipe for political and tribal unrest in the country.

The appeal follows circulation on social media of voice notes purportedly from the two residences, threatening each other to a tribal war over political issues.

Mtambo–My appeal to you is to maintain peace and unity 

In one of the audios, a man claiming to be a Chewa warns that they are ready to wage war against Yaos, accusing them of invading other people’s land.

Ifetu Achewa sitikhala kumadera a anthu ena, koma Achawa muli kulikonse kunoko. Muli paliponse mkufuna nkhondo ya mitundu pamene azibale anu ali kuno. Mkufuna mtanthauze kuti chani? Ife sitikukamba nkhani ya Achawa, koma Winiko asabwera mu Lilongwe,” he warns.

In response, a man claiming to be a Yao from M’baluku counter-warns, saying “we are fully prepared to wage war against Msundwe people.”

“Ifense ndiye kuti tabwera chikwanekwane. Ena tagona kale mu Lilongwe muno takumvani mmene tikuyankhulamu. Tili mu Lilongwe mommuno. Ndi pamene mdziwe kuti wachiYao wangalusya ndi zoonadi. Tabwera! M’baluku yonse yabwera, anyamata a kwa Katema tabwera. Tabwera titakukonzekerani ndithu!” he says in the audio clip.

But Mtambo condemned both parties for propagating tribal war, warning that the Tonse Alliance government will not tolerate anyone who intends to propagate and champion political and tribal unrest in the country.

“This must be condemned in strongest terms. Malawians have been known to be people of peace; let us live in peace. And wherever and whenever there are misunderstandings, let us learn to talk to each other,” said the minister.

Mtambo further appealed to leaders of the cultural groupings in Lilongwe and Mangochi to collaborate in identifying and disciplining authors of the provocative voice notes.

“Dialogue is the only way forward. We are going through a very difficult time due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic and this is a global problem. Issues of rising cost of living is an issue we all need to understand and work hard to address them collectively.

“It’s not right that we should start applying emotions and start threatening one another, start fighting each other over the rise in cost of living. So, let us avoid sensationalizing these issues because everyone has the right to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrations, but let us not sensationalize issues of cost of living to the extent of propagating tribal unrest,” he said.

In a related development, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has expressed disappointment with what it has described as “deafening silence on the part of the Malawi Police Service (MPS)” to arrest perpetrators of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Blantyre on Friday.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said it is disheartening to note that the police, whose constitutional mandate is to ensure the safety of lives and property of all Malawians, chose to bury their heads in the sand at the time their service was desperately needed.

“This, alone, is more revealing as to who actually sanctioned the bloodshed in the city of Blantyre on Thursday, 18th November 2021. Malawians’ memories are still fresh, and they are able to recall what the immediate-past Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime was infamously known for—use of thugs to terrorise innocent and unarmed citizens that were perceived to be advancing dissenting views against them. Today, DPP is out of government!” reads the statement Namiwa issued on Monday morning.

Namiwa reminds President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration about their promise to do things differently by, among others, empowering the youths to meaningfully participate in the social and economic development of the country.

He further reminds the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Dr. George Kainja, about his promise to bring back the lost trust in the police by, also, doing things differently.

“However, the ugly scenes in Blantyre have brought back bad memories of criminals who were licensed to beat up and hack others in full view of the police. It is, therefore, very disheartening to note that more than five days after the uncalled-for acts of violence, there has not been any public statement from the police about the events in Blantyre.

Neither has the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity uttered any word to denounce the violence targeted at those that had planned a peaceful demonstration. This, to us, is clear evidence that such barbaric acts were orchestrated and sponsored by none other than agents of the government of the day, notably the Malawi Congress Party (MCP),” laments Namiwa.

In his reaction, Mtambo appealed for patience from non-state actors, stressing that the Tonse Alliance government remains committed to delivering on all its promises.

The minister further asked CDEDI and other organizations to rally behind President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera for the country to move forward.

“The government of President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is fully aware of the problems that Malawians are facing and it is working hard to address them within a specified time. However, for Chakwera to succeed in addressing our problems, we need the support of non-state actors as well as all citizens,” said Mtambo.

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