The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has accused opposition political parties of inciting violence during demonstrations led by Human Right Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign.
DPP regional governor for the South Charles Mchacha made the allegations on Sunday at Zingwangwa Community Ground in Blantyre where the party’s Southern Region committee held a rally.
Mchacha, who is also Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works, observed that HRDC has been planning peaceful demonstrations but some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party members join the protests to incite violence.
He then asked HRDC leadership to stop the two opposition political party supporters from joining the demonstrations which in some cases have been marred by looting and violence.
Said Mchacha: “HRDC might have good intentions to hold peaceful demonstrations, but it is MCP and UTM Party supporters that are inciting violence. So, we are calling upon [Timothy] Mtambo and [Gift] Trapence to stop [MCP leader Lazarus] Chakwera, [UTM Party leader Saulos] Chilima and their supporters from joining the HRDC demonstrations.
“If they want demonstrations, they should be peaceful.”
He called on Malawians to remain united in developing the country regardless of the political party or region one is affiliated to, saying “the DPP’s door is open to work with anyone even from opposition parties”.
But Trapence said in an interview the coalition has always said it is non-partisan and that the demonstrations are for Malawians regardless of their political, religious and tribal backgrounds.
He said: “All citizens participating in demonstrations are Malawians defending their democracy. HRDC is fighting against corruption, nepotism, impunity and selective justice, among others. All citizens attending our demonstrations are not labelled on their backs. ”
On his part, UTM Party director of publicity Joseph Chidanti Malunga said it is DPP supporters that join the demonstrations to cause havoc.
He said: “No! I don’t think this is true. We have said time and again that when we go for demonstrations, we make it very clear that nobody should be involved in violence. So, people that start violence are not UTM Party members.”
MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali also accused DPP of having a hand in the violence during the demonstrations.
He said the governing party is making the claims to divert people’s attention from important things such as the elections court case.
Since May 27 this year when MEC declared President Peter Mutharika of the governing DPP winner of the presidential race in the May 21 Tripartite Elections with 1 940 740 votes, representing 38.8 percent, the political temperature has risen, with nationwide demonstrations which in some cases have been marred by looting and violence.
Results MEC announced put Chakwera on second position with 1 781 740 votes, representing 35.41 percent and Chilima came third, ahead of four other aspirants, with 1 018 369 votes, representing 20.24 percent.
Chilima and Chakwera are jointly challenging the results in the Constitutional Court and seeking nullification of the presidential poll results. They cite alleged flaws in the results management process as one key factor for their case.
On the other hand, HRDC has been in the forefront organising nationwide demonstrations to force Ansah to resign for allegedly presiding over a flawed electoral process.