Malawi Congress Party (MCP) director of youth Richard Chimwendo Banda has justified his remarks seen as warning people of unspecified action on the day the Constitutional Court will deliver its ruling on the presidential elections nullification petition case.
In a video clip from a rally he addressed at Mponela in Dowa on Saturday, the Dowa East member of Parliament (MP) is seen telling police officers to get ready for the judgement day and inform their spouses that things were getting tough.
He said: “Tsiku logamula, dziko lonse tikakumana ku Lilongwe. Iwe wanyuzi lemba, iwe wapolisi konzeka, ukawauze akazi ako kuti zili uku n’zoopsa. [On judgement day, we will all meet in Lilongwe. The media must write about this! Police officers, get ready and tell your wives that it’s getting dangerous].”
But in an interview in Sunday, Chimwendo Banda said he values peace and that his remarks at the Saturday rally were misinterpreted.
He said: “My message was for the people to respect the police, work with them but also respect the rule of law. I constantly work with police and I am also a champion for peace. So, I didn’t tell people to tussle with the police.
“Actually, what I was saying is that the police officers should tell their wives that there will be a lot of work on the day, not that it will be dangerous for them. In fact, I was mentioning Lilongwe, not the court. We have been told that only 10 people will be allowed at court, so supporters won’t even be there.”
The legislator also shared another clip in which he was asking the youth to desist from engaging in running battles with police, and called for peace.
Reacting to the legislator’s sentiments that went viral on social media, Public Affair Committee (PAC), which is engaging political leaders in dialogue, reprimanded Chimwendo Banda, stating that his remarks were uncalled for.
In an interview yesterday, PAC publicity secretary Reverend Father Peter Mulomole called for calm.
He said: “As PAC, we have asked people to be calm and when the determination is made, let’s accept it and be peaceful.”
Political analyst Ernest Thindwa, who is based at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, also said the remarks were counterproductive, especially between now and the judgement day.
He said politicians should speak in a language and tone that will prepare their supporters for the outcome of the court and respect for the Judiciary.
Said Thindwa: “Key actors in the political process, being political parties and their leaders, need to take an initiative to prepare their followers to accept the court verdict because that is significant in maintaining the image of the Judiciary, but also in-terms of sustaining our democracy.
The challenge is that we have allowed the police to be used as a party tool, serving a narrow interest. These sentiments do not give the confidence that we have politicians who are putting at heart national interests.”
He warned that if the Judiciary is undermined because of political interests, Malawi runs the risk of retrogressing in her quest for a mature democracy.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winner of the presidential race in the May 21 Tripartite Elections with 1 940 709 votes or 38.57 percent.
Results MEC announced showed that MCP president Lazarus Chakwera was second with 1 781 740 votes (35.41 percent) and UTM Party president SaulosChilima came third with 1 018 369 votes or 20.24 percent.
Chilima and Chakwera are challenging the results and seeking nullification over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system.
The court completed hearing testimonies and lawyers are set to file oral submissions this week before the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court makes its ruling.