Just a day after a UTM Party billboard of Saulos Chilima was vandalised on Monday night in Karonga, some unknown people have destroyed a billboard of President Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika’s billboard was also mounted at Karonga District Magistrate’s Court opposite that of UTM Party.
Karonga Police Station officer Joyce Mphepo has since said police have intensified patrols to ensure that they restore political tolerance.
But when asked to comment on the matter, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor (North) Kenneth Sanga said journalists in the country are sympathising with UTM Party, arguing no media house reported on the vandalism of DPP flags and billboards in Mzuzu.
“What are you asking me about? Where were you when DPP campaign materials were removed in Mzuzu? I am not answering that one,” he charged.
On his part, Karonga District elections coordinator (DEC) Emmanuel Bulukutu said there is need to call for a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting so that political parties and stakeholders iron out their differences.
“As the district DEC and MPLC chairperson, I will immediately call for an MPLC meeting to address the situation as soon as possible before the situation gets out of hand,” he said.
Apart from the Mutharika billboard, the vandals also destroyed a Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (Marep) billboard mounted at Karonga District Hospital Turnoff.
UTM Party publicity secretary Chidanti Malunga told The Nation of Tuesday that their billboard in Nkhotakota had also fallen prey to political hooligans, adding the party was surprised by police inaction on the issues.
“There is still no word from MEC [Malawi Electoral Commission]. You wonder why it has only to be the ruling party enjoying this kind of protection to its campaign materials.”
Malawi Congress Party secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka also bemoaned the vandalism of two of the party’s billboards valued at K3 million.
But MEC chairperson for electoral services Jean Mathanga said the electoral body was yet to receive official complaints from the affected parties.
She, however, said the National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting scheduled for this week in Lilongwe would discuss the matter.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said police are increasing patrols and security checks to create safer communities for all during the campaign period and beyond.
On his part, Chancellor College political lecturer Mustapha Hussein urged political leaders to advise their followers to desist from tendencies that may trigger political violence and in turn affect the credibility of the polls. n