President Peter Mutharika yesterday blamed Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its president, Lazarus Chakwera for the political tension in the country and disrupting important national events.
But MCP spokesperson Maurice Munthali has quashed Mutharika’s call, warning him to mind his words as the issue is in court.
Speaking during his second post-election rally at St Augustine 3 Primary School in Mangochi yesterday, Mutharika cited the postponement of the Malawi International Trade Fair as a result of the political uncertainty.
Initially, the trade fair was scheduled to take place from June 20 to 30 but Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira told our sister paper, Nation on Sunday, that some countries have withdrawn their participation on the basis that Malawi is a ‘no-go zone’ country in the aftermath of the disputed May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The countries that withdrew include Indonesia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and China, with Zimbabwe being the only country which did not withdraw.
But Mutharika yesterday, while telling Chakwera and other opposition leaders to accept the election results, blamed MCP for tarnishing the country’s image and causing “unnecessary tension” through violence.
Said the President: “I urge you to stop this. You need to accept that you lost in the elections. Next week, we were supposed to have the international trade fair but some countries decided to withdraw because of this. This is tarnishing the country’s image.”
Mutharika also blamed MCP supporters for damaging the newly-built Lilongwe-Kasiya-Santhe Road which cost K39.7 billion and was launched by Mutharika in April this year.
“An election, just as any competition has one winner, as such Chakwera should live up to his promise of honouring the people’s will,” said the President.
“We signed and agreed to the Electoral Code of Conduct which compelled us to agree to poll results. Reverend Chakwera should do that for the sake prosperity.”
Mutharika also reiterated his promise to turn Mangochi into a tourism capital, saying government has now acquired money for building a five-star hotel and an airport.
But in an interview, the MCP spokesperson said Mutharika should avoid commenting on issues which are in court.
“Just like every citizen, he is not above the law. He should keep his mouth shut until the court makes a determination on this issue,” said Munthali.
He said MCP will not stop pursuing justice and cannot join the DPP in its unconstitutionality by making further comments on the issue.
Munthali’s sentiment were corroborated by University of Malawi The Polytechnic lecturer in political communication Chimwemwe Tsitsi, who said it is improper for Mutharika to ask MCP to stop seeking justice when it has evidence of rigging.
“I find it illogical for APM to ask MCP to accept the results and join them to develop the country when the party claims to have evidence of the purported rigging. The President should not be commenting where the issue is in court,” he said. MCP is contesting the validity of the May 21 presidential poll results, arguing it was marred by irregularities, including the use of Tippex on election results sheets.
Tippex was not part of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) elections inventory and in two separate press briefings, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah admitted the electoral body was equally shocked by its use in the elections.
MEC declared Mutharika winner of the presidential election on May 28.
Present at yesterday’s rally were Mutharika’s second-in-command Everton Chimulirenji, DPP vice-president for the Eastern Region Bright Msaka, regional governor for the Eastern Region Julius Paipi, national youth director Daiton Mussa and other members of the national governing council.