The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has advised the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leadership to refrain from political violence following fracas in some parts of the Northern and Central regions since Saturday.
In a press statement issued yesterday signed by MHRC executive secretary David Nungu, the commission says it is disturbed with reports of incidents of electoral violence in some parts of the country, in particular the conduct of suspected MCP supporters in Mponela and Lilongwe.
However, MCP spokesperson Maurice Munthali denied the allegations in an interview, emphasising that they are a peaceful party and that they, too, condemn the violence.
According to MHRC, MCP supporters perpetrated violence against supporters of the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) and the public in the two areas.
“The commission wishes to condemn such violence in the strongest terms and wishes to advise the MCP leadership to appeal to its followers and supporters to refrain from any form of violence. Importantly, the commission calls upon the MCP leadership to condemn such acts of violence. It must be repeated that peace is a right and a precondition for any sustainable development,” reads the statement by MHRC in part.
It further reminds the party that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi encourages peaceful resolution of disputes.
But Munthali said it is not right to directly link the violence taking place to their party, saying some people can take advantage of the situation and label MCP as the party perpetrating the violence.
“People are angry out there, but to associate that with our party is uncalled for. MCP is a peaceful party and we call for calm among our supporters no matter the outcome of the elections,” he said.
As the nation awaits an official announcement of the presidential winner by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), MCP has taken a court injunction stopping the announcement until MEC responds to complaints raised which include recounting of votes in some districts.
It is reported that on Saturday , people in Lilongwe’s Area 25, Area 18 and Nsundwe burnt tyres on roads to express anger over the delayed release of the results.
Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose in a statement yesterday, said the police have deployed more officers who will work jointly with the Malawi Defence Forces in areas identified as hotspots of violence and criminal acts.
“We will act swiftly to bring all perpetrators of violence to book,” he said.
In the statement, police cited places like Mponela in Dowa, Nsundwe in Area 25 and Santhe in Lilongwe as areas where people barricaded roads, pelted stones at motorists and attacked innocent citizens in politically-motivated acts of violance.. n