President Peter Mutharika on Saturday called on Malawians to put aside their differences as the country celebrates 55th Independence anniversary and condemned organisers of the protests to denounce his re-election in May of plotting to overthrow his government and warned them that the authorities would treat them harshly.
Protesters organised by civil society groups with support of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party have been demonstrating for nearly two months against results of the presidential election and are calling for the resignation of chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Jane Ansah.
“This is the day everyone must show how we love Malawi. Malawi is the only country we have. If we destroy this country, we have destroyed ourselves.
“We may have our differences but we are not enemies. There is no Malawian who must regard a fellow Malawian as an enemy,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika said organisers of the protests wanted to turn the country into a “lawless society”.
Said the Malawi leader: “The violence you see is calculated to make Malawi a lawless state. That is why they want to undermine all the democratic institutions that ensure law and order in this country.”
He added: “They want to create lawlessness so that they can take over this government. But they will only take this government over my dead body.”
Mutharika issued a stern warning that the organisers will be dealt with severely.
“Turning Malawi into a lawless society is unacceptable. We will hold each one of them accountable, force will be met by force and this nonsense will come to an end,” said Mutharika.
“Intimidating people who support government is unacceptable. Intimidating innocent business people is unacceptable. Intimidating our chiefs is unacceptable.
“And we, the people of Malawi, will hold them accountable. The law will take action,” Mutharika said.
Lazarus Chakwera, MCP president, who alleges he was robbed of victory, and former vice president Saulos Chilima of UTM party — have been taking part in the protestswhich have been organised by a non-profit grouping, civil society organisation under the banner of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).
Mutharika said the country will continue on the path to prosperity.
“Malawi will continue to move forward. This country belongs to us all,” Mutharika said.
The celebrations were marked by a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) parade, traditional dances and a football match between Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :