The proximity of two rival political rallies held by governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Transformation Movement (UTM) in Mzuzu tomorrow could be a recipe for violence, a commentator has warned.
In an interview yesterday, University of Livingstonia (Unilia) lecturer George Phiri proposed that either of the two groups should reschedule their meeting to another date to avert violence.
He said: “If UTM and DPP may hold parallel rallies on the same day in a small city like Mzuzu, it will create unnecessary tension. If UTM and DPP proceed with their plans to hold their rallies at the same time in a city which is so small then definitely that will cause chaos and violence.”
Phiri recalled the violence that broke out in Mzuzu in 2016 during a joint opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and People’s Party (PP) rally where panga-wielding thugs believed to have been sponsored by DPP attacked and wounded people.
But UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga said their supporters will not waste time to engage in violent scenes since they are eager to listen to the message from their leader and the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
He said UTM was the first to plan a rally in Mzuzu on the day.
DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said he needed time to consult on the concerns.
Phiri observed that DPP does not seem willing to give UTM the freedom to hold rallies as evidenced by its sponsoring parallel events in Blantyre and Lilongwe on the day the grouping held rallies.