The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia have warned that Malawi risks a repeat of post-May 21 2019 elections chaos if the forthcoming fresh presidential will not be properly managed.
While calling on parties to prepare their supporters for any outcome of the election, the two groups have said it will be difficult to control people’s anger if the election is again poorly handled.
In a statement dated June 3, signed by general secretary Reverend Levi Nyondo and moderator Doglous Chipofya, the Synod says Malawi does not need to witness any more spate of violence as was the case after the nullified May 21 2019 elections.
Just like people prepared for and respected the outcome of the court case on presidential elections, Nyondo and Chipofya urge parties to prepare their supporters for the coming elections and accept the outcome.
Reads the statement, in part:”Let us prepare ourselves for the 2020 Presidential election and its aftermath. The gospel prepares us to go in peace, yet we must fit ourselves with these shoes and, indeed, the whole armour of God. We can also prepare to defend ourselves against the untruths that will lead us away from peace.”
In a separate interview, Nyondo said there is a need for proper management of the polls if the aftermath of the polls is to be peaceful.
“Let people go to vote, manage their votes well. Don’t bring chaos by mismanaging it, because if they do that, it will be difficult to tell people to remain calm,” he said.
The synod has also asked Malawians to pray for the election, further urging politicians to preach peace and avoid attacking the Judiciary.
On its part, PAC, through publicity secretary Bishop Gilford Matonga said there are already some glitches in the management of election, due to the absence of commissioners, but also the conduct of management at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Said Matonga: “These issues would cast a lot of doubts on whether the management of the elections would be professionally done. Our appeal to MEC is that they would understand this predicament, going for fresh election we are coming from a situation where the courts declared that the last year’s election was not professionally done. So they should learn from their mistakes and do a good job this time.”
He said it would be too early to talk about preparing supporters before these issues are dealt with, but still urged parties to promote peace and calm among their followers.
In reaction to the development, spokesperson for Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which leads the Tonse Alliance, the Reverend Maurice Munthali said it is difficult to control people’s discipline when they feel that the elections are characterised by a plethora of irregularities.
“For as long as there is injustice on how the election is run, don’t take Malawians for granted,” warned Munthali.
On his part, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said they love peace and they are encouraging their supporters to be calm.
Chargé d’affaires for the European Union (EU) delegation Ivo Hoefkens has expressed concern over recent acts of violence since the launch of the electoral campaign.
“The EU considers that it is important at this time that all political actors call for restraint and should stand united in the defence of human rights and rule of law, and against any acts of violence, incitement of violence or hate speech,” he said.
MEC public relations manager Sangwani Mwafulirwa has since assured of a credible election.
“MEC is putting in place measures to deter recurrence of the challenges faced with previous elections. But stakeholders should be aware that in some cases challenges mutate, so we are also putting up measures to address even those challenges not faced in the past,” said Mwafulirwa.
Malawi is heading for the fresh presidential election after both the Constitutional Court on February 3 and Supreme Court of Appeal on May 8 2020 found that the May 21 2019 elections had serious irregularities.