Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a quasi-religious body formed in 1992 during the country’s political transition from one-party to multiparty system of government, has announced plans to meet President Peter Mutharika on the need to resume dialogue in order to resolve the political impasse that has engulfed the country since the disputed May 2019 elections.
Speaking to reporters in Blantyre after a board members meeting , PAC spokesperson Bishop Gilford Matonga said apart from resolving the current political impasse before the fresh presidential polls , the religious body wants President Mutharika to engage opposition political parties in the fight against further spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Matonga said the prevalent resistance by some quarters in the Covid-19 pandemic fight which led to obtaining of an injunction by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition(HRDC) restraining the country’s 21 days lockdown as preventive measure of the pandemic calls for consultations.
He further feared that the country might head towards heightened political tension at the expirely of 150 days constitution court ordered time frame for the Malawi Electoral Commision (MEC) to conduct fresh presidential polls which he said might create a political vacuum hence the need for political dialogue .
“The political tension we have witnessed in the country might get worse if nothing shall be done.
“At the moment we are faced with the coronavirus pandemic which needed both the opposition and government side to work together in fighting the pandemic but with the tense political atmosphere that is not happening, so we have agreed as PAC to seek an audience with the Head of State for him to extend an olive branch to the opposition,” said Matonga.
The PAC mediation team comprises members from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) and Malawi Council of Churches (MCC).
Led by His Grace Thomas Luke Msusa, who is the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Blantyre of the Catholic Church, PAC embarked on a dialogue initiative in a bid to pacify the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition parties disputing the May 21 Tripartite Elections results, especially in the presidential race.
The lasy year’s presidential race saw the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Dr Lazarus Chakwera and UTM president Saulos Chilima disputing the results in court which ruled in their favour on February 3 2020 declaring that President Mutharika was unduly elected and odered a re-run.
The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal is expected to deliver the final verdict on the matter.