The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have hit back at government on allegations it has levelled against them that they have organised thugs to torch the country’s markets.
Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Mark Botomani and Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi alleged on Friday that HRDC and the two opposition parties have planned to torch markets as one way of bringing down President Peter Mutharika’s regime.
Although the two ministers said they have detailed information on the person who will be coordinating the torching mission, they failed to mention the name.
Reading the statement, Botomani said: “Government has information that the Human Rights Defenders Coalition
“HRDC, the Malawi Congress Party [MCP] and the UTM have agreed to recruit thugs to implement a plan to burn markets across the country every week.”
They alleged that the plan was finally approved in Lilongwe on Tuesday this week at a meeting convened by HRDC, MCP and UTM in Lilongwe
But HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said the allegations which the two Cabinet ministers made are an indication that government has no clue on how it can unite Malawians, particularly considering the volatile political landscape.
“As HRDC, we do not have the appetite to comment on the propaganda that government is advancing. For how long shall we continue with this? This is nonsense and we cannot be dragged into cheap propaganda like that,” said Mtambo.
He added: “We have been preaching peace and we have always condemned any form of violence. If government does not have any clue on how it can solve out these problems let them contact us so that we should help them.”
On his part, MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali distanced the party from the allegations, saying it does not have thirst to instill violence in the country.
“What is coming from DPP mouths is both unfortunate and shameful. Actually, they are only showcasing their lack of remorse and self-assessment. The allegations they are levelling against MCP, UTM and HRDC are a clear sign that all they want is to bury their own brutality and lawlessness,” he said.
In a telephone interview, UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga said the sentiments which the two ministers said are unfortunate because they at not aimed at uniting Malawians, and that they are jeopardising the dialogue efforts on election disputes.
“It is unfortunate that instead of the ministers making reconciliatory [statements] they have decided to utter caress remarks. As UTM, we are a peaceful party and we don’t believe in violence,” said Chidanti-Malunga.
Dausi said government will do all it can to protect people’s property. However, he did not clearly state the reason they have not arrested the suspects despite indicating that they know them.