Malawi Police has asked organisers of political meetings and demonstrations in Mzimba North to be responsible when booking space by following the proper procedure of writing to the District Commissioner and copying Police.
Deputy Commissioner of Police in the North and Officer-in-Charge of Mzuzu Police Lovemore Mwabumba said this at a meeting of the Multi-Party Liaison Committee of Mzimba North held on Tuesday at Mzimba North District Education Manager’s Office in Ekwendeni.
“ What we want is a violence-free election. And We are saying that the conveners of meetings whether it is a demonstration or political rally should inform the Police in advance of their meetings so that the Police should assess whether the events are a threat to development or security,” said Mwabumba.
Mwabumba explained that although everyone in Malawi has a right to hold meetings as granted by the Constitution, some political parties in are irresponsible and do not follow the procedures forcing Mzuzu Police to stop the events which the law enforcers deem to pose security risks.
The Deputy Police Commissioner cited the new Mzuzu Highway which is still construction as an example of one of the developments that could be interrupted by the September 21 demonstrations hence the need for the Police assessment before permission for meetings along the Road is granted.
And a Representative of M’belwa District Commissioner Tamala Nyrongo cited holding of meetings by different political groupings in close-range as an example of a situation that provokes political violence.
“ We have noted that political parties are fond of holding counter meetings within 100 meters of another party’s meeting. Others do not even inform the Police. All political parties must follow the proper procedures when booking for space,” said Nyirongo.
Nyirongo has since warned that space for political events in Mzimba District will be granted on a first come, first serve basis regardless of the political party involved in order to avoid the violence and provocation on other parties.
And the Malawi Electoral Commission(MEC) through its Civic Education Officer Maurice Manchichi called on the newly constituted MPLC to be professional in mediating over complaints of inter-party violence by not accepting bribes.
Manchichi also advised parties that face political violence to submit full details of the violence incidence to the MPLC detailing where and when the event happened to enable the Committee to speedily investigate the complaints.
The newly composed MPLC in Mzimba North is led by Nyirongo. Other recognized members of the MPLC in Mzimba North include; Police, MEC, other Government officials as well as all traditional authorities in Mzimba North and some registered political parties. Among the parties that form the Mzimba North MPLC are Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , the People’s Party (PP) , the United Democratic Front (UDF) and, the Democratic People’s Congress (DEPECO).
The MPLC meeting themed “say no to political violence” was sponsored by Tovwirane with support from the Dutch Government through Hivos Southern Africa Hub. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) formed the MPLCs across the Country in 2002 in order to assist in resolving inter-party conflicts and to promote ethical conduct of political parties in Malawi.