Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) on Tuesday has been meeting former president Bakili Muluzi to find a lasting solution to the post-election tension ovee the anti-Jane Ansah protests which have at times turned violent.
HRDC team led by Timothy Mtambo had travelled from Lilongwe to BCA Residence a private posh retirement home of the former president in Blantyre at the start of the talks.
Muluzi, who served as the country’s first multiparty president from 1994 to 2004, said he was concerned with HRDC’s calls for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah for allegedly presiding over a flawed electoral process in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections and subsequent calls for continued nationwide demonstrations to push the cause.
The HRDC had earlier called for the presence of the embattled MEC chairperson Ansah as a condition for the peace talks to take place.
Political analyst Mustafa Hussein welcomed the peace talks.
“This is a very good development. Let us give peace a chance. It is always good to resolve matters amicably,” he said.
He commended the former president Muluzi for coming up with the dialogue initiative.
However, some Malawians taking up on various social media platforms said Muluzi was not a neutral figure to chair such a dialogue, saying he is leans towards Mutharika and his administration.
Commenting on the same, governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that HRDC should tread with caution on dialogue with Muluzi.
“While former Heads of States have a vital role to play in conflict resolution, I am of the view that Bakili Muluzi and Joyce Banda may not have a strong political moral ground to intervene in the current post-election political crisis. This is largely due to their recent close association with DPP and MCP respectively.
“For example, it doesn’t require anyone to be a political scientist to gauge how Bakili Muluzi has in recent years been closely associated with the DPP government and has often made open public pronouncements in defence of Mutharika while indirectly condemning the Opposition. Muluzi can hence not have a strong moral ground to intervene on the matter in the best interest of all parties involved as he is likely to serve DPP interests possibly because of his vested interests relating to his outstanding corruption case,” said Munthali.
The governance commentator said while he appreciates the important role B Muluzi as a former head of State has played in intervening on some previous conflicts, he is of the view that he lacks authority and political moral ground to intervene in the current political crisis.
“ A good example of why I think Muluzi might be part of the DPP strategy in the current crisis is his very choice of the date when he wants to engage HRDC. It’s clear that Muluzi deliberately chose Tuesday so that he forces HRDC to cancel demos. This is what DPP wanted. If Muluzi was sincere certainly he would have chosen dates that are outside demonstration days. Otherwise, I remain skeptical of Muluzi’s intervention in this.”
But Malawi’s leading daily newspaper, The Nation, in an editorial comment commended HRDC leadership for warmly welcoming the initiatives to discuss the grievances through dialogue.
The paper says it prays that the dialogue path will succeed and that sanity will be restored at the end of the day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :