Three days after the violence that cost lives of a police officer and a civilian in Thyolo, President Joyce Banda yesterday blamed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika for the violence.
Speaking at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Wednesday after meeting 35 traditional leaders from Thyolo who expressed their disappointment with the violence, Banda said DPP caused the violence.
Said Banda: “On Friday last week, Mutharika insisted that he should attend a mass at a church near the venue where we were to conduct our rally and where the fracas took place. I was also surprised that during our rally there were some people that were standing on the outskirts holding DPP [miniature] flags.”
The President said the violent acts at Goliati Trading Centre in Thyolo East Constituency, home to Mutharika, has tainted DPP’s image because last Sunday’s incident was the third political fracas in the area against political parties other than DPP.
Banda said a few months ago her People’s Party (PP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) supporters were also assaulted in the same area.
But in a telephone interview yesterday, DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said what the President is doing is guesswork. He argued that Banda cannot assume all the roles of investigative authorities.
Said Dausi: “What we have said as DPP is that let the police investigate the whole incident and bring those responsible to book. The President cannot assume the roles of the police, judges and prosecutors. Mutharika is always blamed for anything, whether there is too much rain or a drought.”
Speaking on behalf of the Thyolo traditional leaders that included senior chiefs Chimaliro and Thomas, traditional authorities (T/A) Nsabwe and Mphuka, and sub-T/As Nanseta and Boyidi, T/A Khwethemule blamed the violence on jealousy by the DPP.
“Some people were sent to cause the violence because the area was peaceful after the rally,” he said.
Some people have blamed Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara for inciting the violence in her speech when she said the fact that one was a good medical doctor does not make their sibling a medical doctor as well.
This was interpreted as a subtle reference to Mutharika whose brother, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, was president.
However, there were already violent scenes even before the President and Hara addressed the rally as two people were injured in running battles prior to the event.