Families of the July 20 2011 victims on Friday joined opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) in de-campaigning the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ahead of the 2019 polls.
Unlike in the previous memorial events, when members of the bereaved families carried placards questioning government’s action on a number of issues, this year there were no placards at Zolozolo Cemetery in Mzuzu.
Instead, various speakers, including representative of the bereaved families took to task the DPP-led government on various governance issues.
One of the family representatives, Mercy Mfune, said children of those who died in 2011 are suffering, but authorities have rendered a deaf ear to their challenges. She then said in the next year’s elections, such people should not be voted into power.
“I was not supposed to stand here to say, this. Civil society leaders were supposed to do this, but since they are not here, I am saying, come 2019, we want to elect leaders who will listen to people’s challenges, not leaders who will tell police to shoot at people like dogs,” she said amid cheers from people, who were mostly MCP supporters.
Director of Women for Aford, Bessie Chirambo, said people needed to be reminded that the DPP government is responsible for the killings in 2011 and needed to be taken out of government next year.
“We have voted for DPP for so long, but there is nothing that is changing apart from bringing us atrocities, so we don’t need to put them into office again. Let us vote wisely,” she said.
Guest of honour Harry Mkandawire, who is also MCP second deputy president, said the ceremony must always remind people of the atrocities of the DPP-led government. He said the government has lost track, and MCP will not allow the DPP to be re-elected next year.
“When we go to elections next year, let us not vote for those people who killed our children in 2011,” he said.
DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also government’s spokesperson, said they were not invited to the event.
The DPP has also of late gone on a smear campaign against MCP, calling it a killer party.
On July 20 2011, hundreds of thousands of Malawians took to the streets demonstrating against perceived dictatorial tendencies of former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika. Police officers killed 20 protesters, nine of whom were gunned down in Mzuzu.