Tempers flared up during a parliamentary debate in Chikwawa south as the debate ended prematurely because of political rivalry between Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Elias Karim and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) aspirant Gerald Viola.
The two parliamentary candidates nearly exchanged blows, heightening tension in the already volatile situation, stalking tension between supporters of the two parties.
National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) official in the district Joseph Chamambala called off the debate before all questions were exhausted to avoid fighting which would have erupted anytime.
The debate was being held at Nkhwangwa primary school in the district.
In an interview, Karim blamed Viola and his DPP supporters, saying they provoked the situation.
He asked NICE to organize another debate.
Viola, on his part, pushed the blame back to Karim and his supporters, saying they kept on disrupting him whenever he was responding to questions.
Karim and Viola are leading contenders in the parliamentary race in the area.
Meanwhile, NICE has suspended political debates in constituencies described as political violence hot spots in Mulanje.
NICE official in the district Lucius Sagawa said the debates for aspiring members of parliament have been suspended in Mulanje west, Mulanje Limbuli and Mulanje north.
“We held the political debates for the candidates in Mulanje Bale on Friday but under very tense atmosphere. Violence could have erupted anytime,” he said.
Sagawa said the political debates will be held after discussions with district multiparty liaison committee which is comprised of all political parties in the district.
Ruling DPP is protecting its “territory” in the district from the UTM which has taken the district by storm.
Sagawa said his organization will ensure that the political debates are held before the May 21 highly contentious elections.
There were no immediate comments from the parliamentary candidates nor their respective political party leaders.
Violence has erupted several times in Mulanje Limbuli raising fears that the elections in the area might be affected.
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