Mutharika shuns prayers for Malawi elections: Join Labour Day events

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president, Peter Mutharika has shunned National Prayers of worship for May 20th Tripartite Elections organized by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) opting for Labour Day commemoration event.

Mutharika was only notable presidential candidate missing out with other main contenders all present at the event.

The prayers firstly earmarked for Wednesday, April 30th at COMESA Hall, were held at Robins Park in Blantyre with President Joyce Banda, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, United Democratic Front (UDF) leader Atupele Muluzi in attendance.

Mutharika join workers in a big walk during Labour Day events in Lilongwe
Mutharika join workers in a big walk during Labour Day events in Lilongwe

Other presidential candidates present at the prayers include Umodzi Party (UP) leader, John Chisi, Abusa Heren Sigh of UIP, NLP’s Friday Jumbe, PPM’s Mark Katsonga and his brother David Katsonga of CCP, George Nnesa leading Tisinthe Alliance and others.

But in an interview DPP Secretary General, Jean Kalilani said Mutharika failed to attend due to crash of schedule.

“Professor Mutharika could not make it to the prayers due to change of dates for the event. He had an already arranged program to attend Labour Day commemoration event and with the change of prayers’ dates by the organisers, it was really difficult for him to make it,” explained Kalilani.

Kalilani said the party delegated some of its top officials to represent Mutharika at the prayers which were also patronised by the out-going Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda and other top government officials.

“Although he is not there in physical, but Professor Mutharika is with them in spirit. It was not by design that he should miss out on the prayers, no. it has been his wish to attend but the schedule of his program and change of dates really inconvenienced us,” Kalilani added.

Mutharika, according to Kalilani, will attend the National Prayers slated for May 10th organized by Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

Scheduling of the today’s prayers by MEC had attracted anger from the officials of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) who have accused the Commission of being disrespectful to the workers for choosing the only day of the year which workers meet government officials to air their concerns.

But according to MEC’s Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga the change of dates was made to offer an opportunity for presidential candidates and other stakeholders who will be attending the presidential debate in Lilongwe, to attend the prayers.

The prayers were held under the theme ’Fair, free and Peaceful Elections: Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ and were aimed at praying for the forthcoming elections on May 20th.

The prayers were organised in conjunction with the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, the Muslim Association of Malawi, the Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi, the Evangelical Association of Malawi, Malawi Union of the Seventh Day Adventist and the Pentecostal churches.

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