The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) have condemned political violence and defiance of Covid-19 prevention measures during campaign rallies ahead of the March 30 elections.
In separate statements issued on Friday, both CCJP and MHRC have since asked Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to act on all errant political parties and candidates.
The statements follow reports of political violence last Sunday at Tengani Trading Centre in Nsanje between alleged Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters. They also follow elections candidates’ defiance of Covid-19 prevention measures during their campaign rallies.
In a statement signed by executive secretary Habiba Osman, MHRC says violence should not be allowed in any electoral event as it has potential to derail the electoral process and to disenfranchise some voters.
Reads the statement in part: “We urge all political parties and their supporters to embrace peace and adopt issue-based campaign strategies.”
Similarly, CCJP, in its statement signed by national coordinator Boniface Chibwana, described both the political violence that occurred in Nsanje and candidates’ failure to observe Covid-19 prevention measures as threats to human rights and public health.
Asked if they have acted on reports of violence, MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa in an interview said there are due processes of the law to be followed, including the arrest and conviction of perpetrators before the electoral body can take action.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera, in a statement issued after the Nsanje fracas, warned that perpetrators of political violence will be prosecuted.
MCP campaign director Moses Kunkuyu yesterday alleged that the DPP was to blame for the violence which resulted in six supporters getting injured.
However, efforts to speak to DPP spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira proved futile as he did not pick our phone calls.
But addressing the issue of Covid-19 prevention measures, Mwafulirwa yesterday said MEC expects parties to implement preventive measures.
MEC is expected to hold elections in Karonga North West, Ntchisi North West, Lilongwe Msinja South, Zomba Changalume, Nsanje North, Chikwawa East constituencies as well as Liviridzi Ward in Balaka West and Chitakale Ward in Mulanje South.