Public Affairs Committee (PAC) says it is set for a second phase of dialogue meetings with President Peter Mutharika and other concerned parties in its quest to find a lasting solution to the prevailing political tension.
PAC said in a statement issued yesterday to update the public on the initiative that its impending audience with Mutharika seeks to cement certain points discussed during their first meeting on August 2 this year.
While specific details of their August 2 meeting remain under wraps, PAC said the President told the grouping’s mediation team to engage the leadership of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to share his views and concerns raised during their meeting.
On the other hand, the leadership of HRDC and UTM advised the PAC mediation team, which is chaired by Archbishop Thomas Msusa of the Catholic Church Archdiocese of Blantyre, to meet Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to hear her views on the current political situation.
Signed by all the seven PAC mediation team members, the statement stated that the body had already sought another audience with Mutharika for re-engagement and was also committed to meet with MCP, UTM and HRDC leadership again.
But the statement has not indicated whether the team will have another interface with Ansah whom HRDC is demanding her head for allegedly presiding over a flawed electoral process in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Reads the statement in part: “In a bid to complete shuttle diplomacy exercise at this stage, the mediators will hold a second round dialogue meeting with the Head of State to concretise some points… and share feedback from HRDC, UTM, MCP and MEC chairperson.”
In the statement, PAC noted that the dialogue meetings with all the parties involved in the present political situation enabled its mediation team to establish facts and perceptions surrounding the political impasse.
“At practical level, the public may wish to be informed that mediators have developed a tentative roadmap which outlines activities to be implemented even beyond the court ruling on presidential elections case.
“It is the view of the mediators that the dialogue should examine interventions on scenarios in line with post-court ruling in a bid to secure commitments to the upholding of the rule of law and constitutionalism from parties directly involved in the dispute,” said the statement.
In an earlier interview with The Nation, Nandini Patel, an associate professor of political leadership at Catholic University, observed that the country would achieve more if the sporadic dialogue initiatives were merged into a single structure.
Meanwhile, PAC has hailed stakeholders involved in the dialogue process to secure a durable solution to the standoff for their honesty in their views and positions on the situation.
The quasi-religious body commenced its initiative of conflict management prior to announcement of the May 2019 elections results when it met leadership of UTM and MCP to hear their thoughts on the electoral challenges.
After announcement of the results, the organisation first engaged Mutharika over the country’s state of affairs followed by meetings with HRDC, MCP, UTM and finally Ansah on Monday this week.
This is the first formal update the organisation has made to the public since it launched the dialogue process.
Since MEC declared Mutharika winner of the May 21 presidential poll with 1 940 740 votes, representing 38.8 percent, the political temperature has risen with nationwide demonstrations organised by HRDC which in some cases have been marred by looting and violence.