Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo, has denied – before parliament – that he led violent demonstrations between 2019 and 2020, insisting they were not.
Mtambo, who was chairperson for the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) before he was roped into President Lazarus Chakwera’s cabinet, received criticism from opposition benches in parliament on Thursday when he made his ministerial statement.
The minister, who leads the Citizen for Transformation (CFT), which is also a partner in the Tonse Alliance government, said his ministry would commit to ensuring that the country is peaceful, and strengthen unity.
Apparently, Mtambo’s statement to the August House comes high on the heels in the proliferation of cases of mob justice and heightening conflicts in the country.
Reacting to Mtambo’s statement Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) parliamentarian for Thyolo Central, Ben Phiri, accused the minister of conflicting himself saying he was not in a position to preach peace and unity when he was a mastermind of disunity and violence himself.
In his response, Mtambo said “HRDC only organised peaceful demonstrations” but some people deliberately led others to be violent and the acts “were not to his knowledge.”
He said: “People have to embrace manners that promote national peace which is recipe for development.”
Blantyre North legislator William Susuwele Banda also questioned if Mtambo ever had time to apologize to all those that lost their properties during HRDC demonstrations prior to the June 23 fresh presidential election.
But Leader of the House, Richard Chimwendo Banda asked the Blantyre North MP to provide before the house evidence that Mtambo’s demonstrations led to destruction of property as claimed.
“Legislators should have in mind that Mtambo only led peaceful demonstrations,” Chimwendo Banda told parliament.
Second Deputy Speaker, Aisha Adams, who presided over the deliberations has since called on the parliamentarians not to dwell on the past but focus on working towards the future.
Nevertheless, the lawmakers insist Mtambo is not a rightful champion of national unity as he led a series of nationwide demonstrations ahead of last year’s landmark fresh presidential election.
During his statement Mtambo highlighted that that poor financing is crippling operations of his ministry, and that the situation is derailing the ministry from yielding desirable fruits.
“In the 2021-2022 national budget, treasury allocated only K600 million to the ministry which is not enough,” Mtambo saidFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :