A seven-member Public Affairs Committee (PAC) team on Monday met President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe as part of the dialogue to defuse tension following the disputed May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Among other issues discussed during the meeting that lasted the whole afternoon was the need for political parties in the country to prepare their supporters for the outcome of the May 21 presidential election petition case.
According to one of the mediators, Bishop Gilford Matonga, the meeting also resolved that PAC should continue engaging Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders. They also agreed that all parties should preach peace and desist from promoting violence.
He said Mutharika raised a concern over the violence that ensued during HRDC-led demonstrations to force beleaguered Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah to resign.
Matonga said: “There were issues raised by various stakeholders, so the meeting was aimed at giving feedback to the President on those issues.
But the major outstanding issue now is the need for continuation of dialogue.
“The President raised some concerns, so we will be preparing to meet face to face with the other side in a dialogue meeting.”
Meanwhile, PAC says they will be meeting Chakwera, Chilima and HRDC leaders following the concerns Mutharika raised.
According to Matonga, PAC will begin engaging MCP, UTM and HRDC from Wednesday.
He said: “It is our desire that we should address issues of peace before the court concludes the case. People should be able to engage and not act in a violent way.
“We believe the President will also accept the court judgement. The whole issue is not to do with the President, but all stakeholders. There should be no lawlessness. We are desiring to prepare anyone, including the President himself.”
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani confirmed in a separate interview that PAC and Mutharika agreed on a number of issues that need to be taken on board to ensure peace as all parties are waiting for the court verdict.
He said: “The meeting was about PAC reporting to the President on outcomes of their first-round of talks. All parties should preach peace. To avoid violence, lawlessness and human rights violations in the name of political dispute
“They also agreed that all stakeholders should urge their supporters to remain calm as we wait for Constitutional Court judgement and to accept the court outcome and that PAC mediation team should re-engage MCP, UTM and the HRDC on issues and questions raised by the President at the meeting.”
PAC requested for an audience with Mutharika to give him feedback on the dialogue meetings they have been having with stakeholders. Earlier, the team engaged Chakwera, Chilima, HRDC and Ansah.