President Peter Mutharika’s running mate, who is also UDF’s leader Atupele Muluzi has lashed out at opposition MCP and UTM leaders as cowards, who he alleges are masterminding political violence for fear of an impending election loss.
Atupele said this at a press briefing at his residence in Lilongwe yesterday, in reaction to incidences of violence at Mponela, Dowa where some people blocked him from holding a whistle-stop tour.
The UDF leader said their intelligence has it that the violent acts were organised by MCP and UTM leaders Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima respectively.
But, in response, MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali has hit back at Atupele, saying “for once he must learn to speak the truth”.
Munthali said history will testify that the two families that have ruled Malawi since 1994 are not only power-hungry, but also sponsor terror attacks.
The incident at Mponela came barely a day after Chilima’s motorcade was stoned in Phalombe. UTM and its partners in the Tonse Alliance suspect that perpetrators of this incident were DPP functionaries.
When asked what the intelligence made out of the Phalombe incident, Atupele said it is clear to everyone that the political violence that has taken place in this country in the last 12 months or so was instigated by the opposition.
“We know perpetrators of this violence. Innocent Malawians had businesses smashed, homes smashed, vehicles smashed, police offices smashed,” he said.
In reaction, Munthali said the opposition is at the mercy of God as the police turned their back away from them when they registered complaints. He said all these violent acts are being staged by DPP and UDF to scare people “ahead of an election they are about to lose”.
“They are staging all these violent acts because they know the police cannot act. They are afraid of elections and their sinister strategy is to create anarchy. UDF is well-known for notoriety— remember what young democrats did.
“DPP has cadets who have done have once again combined forces, one can only fear for their lives,” lamented Munthali. all sorts of evil and now the two
He said the solution lies in the presidency to end all these acts of violence “but unfortunately the leadership has chosen to be absent or pretend there is no problem”.
Ironically, Mutharika, too, has issued a statement, which suggestively point a finger at the opposition, and not his own camp as those behind political violence in the country.
Meanwhile the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is urging security agencies—Police and MDF—to ensure that the citizenry is protected from violence. They have also urged political parties to talk to their supporters to desist from acts of violence.
“If violence will not stop, HRDC will not have an option but to report some high-profile individuals to the International Criminal Court (ICC) who are believed to be bankrolling violence in Malawi,” said HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence.
Lecturer in governance, security and peace studies at Mzuzu University yesterday advised politicians to desist from divisive rhetoric where the want to monopolise or claim to have control over a particular sect of people.
He said the current spate of political violence are a manifestation of a deep-seated problem that is rooted in ethnicity and regionalism.
“The current political violence can be associated with a growing deeping into ethnocentrism by Malawians. This is propped up by entrenched regionalistic voting tendencies that have existed since the dawn of multiparty elections. In the end, there has been a steadily rising involuntary and systematic demarcation of regional constituencies for presidential candidates,” he said.
He added: “Further to this, politicians must refrain from standing on political rhetoric that stokes disunity. Instead, they must strive to establish political parties with a national appeal so as to be able to reach to every Malawian with real socioeconomic issues that affect their lives.”
Despite the violence at Mponela, Atupele later proceeded on his whistle-stop tour to Kasungu en-route to Mzuzu where he is schedule to hold a rally today.n