Malawi Congress Party (MCP) says it will petition Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to take action against suspected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members who allegedly blocked MCP president Lazarus Chakwera’s motorcade at Luchenza in Thyolo on Saturday.
MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said yesterday in a telephone interview that his party was dismayed with the conduct of the group in DPP colours who blocked the road using an articulated truck to prevent Chakwera from proceeding to Mulanje Pasani Constituency.
He said: “The actions displayed by DPP supporters on Saturday were deplorable and retrogressive. We have resolved to take the matter to MEC. Apparently, the DPP supporters were sent by Thyolo Central parliamentarian Gabu Bob Khamisa as it was his truck which had blocked the road.
“The DPP boys were in that truck trying to prevent our leader from proceeding to address people who were waiting for him.”
Mkaka, who is the current chairperson of Centre for Multiparty for Democracy (CMD)—a grouping of parties represented in Parliament, said he would not engage CMD on the matter for fear of being in conflict of interest.
The code of conduct for political parties and candidates for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections published by MEC includes preventing the holding or interrupting proceeds of a meeting as one of the offences punishable either by imprisonment or through payment of fines.
Saturday’s incident that happened about 50 metres from Luchenza Police Station has also drawn condemnation from Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national coordinator Boniface Chibwana who called for an end to impunity.
But in his response to our query, Khamisa, in a telephone interview yesterday, denied blocking Chakwera’s passage. He admitted that the people aboard his truck were DPP supporters.
Said Khamisa: “That was my truck, but it had run out of fuel and had been there for a number of hours before the MCP president arrived. The driver was waiting for me to bring money for fuel as I was away.
“When the MCP convoy arrived at the scene, some DPP supporters boarded the truck to display their love for the party. The issue is being personalised by my cousin who joined MCP…”
DPP regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, distanced his party from the allegations when contacted yesterday.
He said: “Our investigations have established that it was a family affair for the Khamisas and the party had no role in it whatsoever. They [Khamisas] are [politically] divided within their family and that is what we gathered. MP Khamisa does not hold any position in the party, as such, cannot command supporters belonging to DPP.”
Public Affairs Committee (PAC) last week announced that it will convene a meeting with all presidential candidates in the May 21 elections to sign a peace pledge.
Since the beginning of the year, a number of incidents bordering on political violence have been reported. They include the stripping of a UTM female member in Mangochi, the assault of Mulanje South legislator Bon Kalindo in Mulanje and the assault of MCP member Edward Govati in Blantyre
In a brief written response yesterday, MEC director of media and publicity Sangwani Mwafulirwa said: “All cases reported or arising so far have been resolved amicably by the multiparty liaison committees.”