Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has complained to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) following ugly scenes that characterised the campaign for local government by-elections for Milonde Ward in Mulanje.
The complaint followed the tension that ensued during the Easter holidays when youths clad in Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) blue colours fought with MCP followers after the former reportedly pulled down flags belonging to MCP.
Since then, tension has been high in the area with DPP followers allegedly threatening MCP leaders.
However, the situation is in sharp contrast to the case in Malindi Ward in Mangochi where political parties have been campaigning freely without interrupting each other’s meetings.
Speaking to journalists after holding his last campaign rally at St. Michael’s Girls Secondary School ground, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera condemned DPP’s conduct in Mulanje, describing the development as undemocratic.
He said his party had already registered its displeasure and complaint with MEC and they hoped the commission would take necessary measures to curb such behaviour.
Said Chakwera: “We are headed for general elections next year. We do not want this kind of behaviour. Nobody should spill blood of another person in the name of party allegiance.
“As leaders, we must condemn this and live together as Malawians. Somebody says ‘if we are those kind of fools we will perish together’ and Malawians are no fools and, therefore, do not let a few misguided individuals ruin the fact that we are but one nation.”
He said Malawians chose democracy as such it was important to respect each other’s desires by campaigning freely while articulating issues that would unite and build the nation and not destroy it.
MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa yesterday confirmed receiving MCP’s complaint but could not divulge further details, saying the commission will respond later.
DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey said in an interview yesterday she was aware of the unpleasant scenes in Mulanje, but doubted the identities of the said DPP youths.
She accused MCP of staging the violent clashes to dent her party’s image.
Five candidates that include Mavuto Lackson Michael (independent), Donata Nyanga (MCP), Leo Roy Pangani (independent), Mike Skinner (DPP) and Cidreck Somanje (independent) are contesting in Milonde Ward while Malindi Ward in Mangochi has four contestants.
The by-elections are scheduled for tomorrow (April10 2018). n