President Peter Mutharika has urged Malawians to forgive each other and focus on rebuilding the country in 2020.
But Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM Party counterpart Saulos Chilima have said Malawians have suffered injustice in 2019.
In his New Year’s Day address monitored on State broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television (TV) last night, Mutharika asked Malawian to love and forgive each other and focus on rebuilding the country in the new year.
The President also asked Malawians to reflect on what the country needs and appealed to all political leaders to avoid politics of violence, saying citizens gain nothing out of violence.
Said Mutharika: “My appeal goes to all political leaders, including the leaders of HRDC [Human Rights Defenders Coalition] because by its actions it is a political organisation.
“As we enter the year 2020, I want us all to seriously reflect on what we want for our country. Where do we want to take this country? Let us unite in agreeing where we want to take this country. Let’s forgive each other.”
Touching on the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, the President said it was sad that some people responded to their election defeat by inciting violence, spreading intimidation and victimising innocent people.
He further appealed to the media and civil society organisations to avoid being used as agents of destruction and think positively of the country, adding that negative news can easily scare away investors.
On his part, Chakwera in a written response yesterday said many people have started the new year with unhealed injuries and unresolved injustices.
He said: “If you feel that you are sailing into 2020 in a ship of injury and injustice, then I offer myself in service as your captain, because as you know, I am no stranger to unhealed injuries and unresolved injustices.
“What I want you to know you are fighting for the right cause, for the right reasons, and on the right side of history, then you must never give up the fight.”
Chilima wished Malawians a happy 2020 but described 2019 as “a year we wasted as a country through greedy and selfish politicians”.
He urged Malawians to keep the faith.
“I really believe that we can restore trust and together as Malawians we will build a joint future for ourselves and the next generations. But this will not come on silver platter. Each one of us has a role to play if we are to build a great nation,” said the immediate past vice-president.
Following the May 21 elections, Chakwera and Chilima filed petitions in court seeking nullification of the presidential election results citing alleged irregularities.
Malawi Electoral Commission declared Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winner of the presidential race with 1 940 709 votes or 38.57 percent. He was trailed by Chakwera with 1 781 740 votes (35.41 percent) while Chilima came third with 1 018 369 votes or 20.24 percent.
The Constitutional Court is expected to make the ruling by early February, after it announced on December 20 that judgement would be made within 45 days.