Mutharika denounces violence: Asks JB to withdraw ‘slander’

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika has spoken against the acts of political violence that happened in the country this week and  asked  President Joyce Banda to withdraw her accusation that he attended a mass at a church near the venue the President addressed a rally in Thyolo East Constituency.

On Sunday, violence erupted during a development rally addressed by President Joyce Banda at Goliati in Thyolo, resulting in the deaths of a police officer and a civilian.

This was followed by Monday’s attack on Ben Phiri, a personal assistant to the DPP’s leader and presidential candidate in the forthcoming tripartite elections Prof. Peter Mutharika. He was attacked at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.

Mutharika: Wants JB to withdraw accusation
Mutharika: Wants JB to withdraw accusation

Another incident happened in Mzuzu on Tuesday morning when unknown thugs threw a petrol bomb at a DPP vehicle Tuesday morning.

The three incidences have seen the DPP and President Banda’s People’s Party (PP) accusing each other of instigating the occurrences.

There have been allegations from the PP claiming that the violence in Thyolo was at the instigation of and carefully planned by the DPP top leadership.

Speaking at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Wednesday after meeting 35 traditional leaders from Thyolo, the Head of State accused Mutharika for the violence.

She claimed Friday last week, Mutharika had insisted on attending a mass at a church near the venue where she addressed the Thyolo rally which was marred by the fracas.

But addressing journalists in Blantyre on Thursday, Mutharika disassociated himself and his party from the incident, saying the party and its leadership does not condone acts of violence.

“I have spent my life fighting for human rights and have never been violent. I’m not a man of violence and can never be associated with violence,” said the DPP president Peter Mutharika during a press conference held at his Nyambadwe residence.

Reacting to President Banda’s direct accusations on him, Mutharika said: “I am saddened by the statement made by the President, I therefore ask her to withdraw the slander.”

Mutharika has since urged DPP supporters and all Malawians to desist from acts of violence in the campaign period, during and after the elections. Let’s put what happened in Thyolo, Mzuzu and Mount Soche behind us. We need to reconcile and join hands to develop the nation.”

Making a statement during the conference, DPP’s Secretary General Dr. Jean Kalilani said: “The party under its leadership of Prof. Peter Mutharika will not tolerate any violence, regardless who the perpetrator is.

“The DPP expresses deep shock on the violence and as a party we extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and those injured or affected in any other way”.

The DPP further accused the ruling party of inciting the violence through Minister of Health, Catherine Gotani Hara’s speech during the rally.

“Hon. Gotani Hara’s speech was inflammatory especially in her remarks which were an indirect reference to Prof. Peter Mutharika. The DPP condemns such behavior,” said Kalilani.

The DPP alleges that the Goliati violence was preceded by unnecessary and uncalled for acts of provocation by cadres of the PP.

According to the party, prior to the Sunday events at Goliati, various high-ranking officials of the PP were involved in pulling down DPP flags and tearing the party’s symbols in the area.

Meanwhile, the DPP has commended the Police for their professionalism in their attempts to quell a volatile situation which was created by “irresponsible behaviour of the officials of the PP”.

The opposition party has since called on President Banda’s party to show sensible leadership and get the country out of the “impending vicious cycle of senseless political violence” in which millions of peoples’ lives are at stake.

“The DPP is disturbed by the attempts of the country’s leadership in attributing the violence at Goliati to the DPP before allowing the law enforcement officers to conduct their work professionally and apprehend the culprits,” Kalilani said.

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