In a clear sign of bad blood among politicians in the country, we have established that opposition party leaders who are contesting the outcome of the May 21 presidential polls will not attend the 55th Independence Day celebrations in Blantyre today.
In separate interviews on Friday, both Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM Party counterpart Saulos Chilima said they have not been invited and would, therefore, not attend the event.
Said Chilima: “I haven’t received any invitation and, therefore, I can’t go. I am not attending the celebrations.”
On his part, Chakwera said he was actually hearing it from the reporter that there were arrangements about Independence Day celebrations.
“I haven’t heard anything about the celebrations. There is no invitation,” and when asked if he would attend, Chakwera laughed, saying, “I will not attend.”
However, organising committee chairperson Joseph Mwanamvekha, who is also Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development said Chilima and Chakwera were only being political.
“We sent invitations through Parliament. So leaders of their parties in Parliament know this. It is just political that they want people to see as if we have shunned them, but no! The truth is, we have invited them,” he said.
Mwanamvekha also explained that the celebrations will start with prayers at the College of Medicine Sports Complex Hall before the main event in the afternoon.
This year’s Independence celebrations will be commemorated under the theme ‘Celebrating our freedom with peace, unity and love’.
In a statement on Friday, Minister of Information Mark Botomani said this year’s theme is very befitting after the Global Peace Index ranked Malawi the third most peaceful country in Africa.