Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has condemned traits of intimidation by unidentified people targeting individuals who presented papers and attended its Fifth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference between February 17 and 18 in Blantyre.
In a statement issued yesterday, PAC said it had observed political developments emerging to silence critics of the government and the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) since the high-level meeting took place where some delegates asked President Peter Mutharika to step down.
The quasi religious body said basing on media reports, it was clear political leaders were bent on using clandestine tactics to intimidate the meeting’s presenters and delegates who spoke against government’s policies and actions.
PAC said people have been receiving anonymous calls and WhatsApp messages intimidating them for expressing their views on various topical issues affecting the country.
Reads in part the statement: “These political techniques coupled with victimisation of relations to these political commentators have created an atmosphere to believe that political leaders are geared on intimidating the various personalities who follow and comment on public issues in the public domain.”
Co-signed by PAC chairperson the Very Reverend Felix Chingota and publicity secretary the Reverend Father Peter Mulomole, the statement says the intimidations, including the fracas that happened during opposition of public expectation.political rally in Mzuzu fall short
Adds the statement: “It is PAC’s belief that this unbecoming behaviour is not a solution to Malawi’s challenges especially at a time when the economic and political direction of the country remains hazy.”
Politicial and social commentator Blessings Chinsinga, an associate professor at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi (Unima), was one of the presenters at the meeting who claimed to have received threats on his life. He said well-wishers tipped him off about the plot.
The religious body also observes that perpetrating such acts may cause civil strife at a time when government has failed to provide service delivery.
However, in an interview with The Nation, former minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango, dismissed suggestions about the alleged hit-list of government critics as fabrication.
His successor, Patricia Kaliati, could not be reached on her phone yesterday, but DPP deputy spokesperson Bon Kalindo challenged PAC to come up with evidence to substantiate the claims.
He said: “We respect PAC but if it starts making allegations that have no evidence then we have problems. As a party we don’t become unbecoming and start victimising our own people. PAC needs to produce evidence and not just make claims”
Several other presenters and delegates to the PAC meeting corroborated Chinsinga’s claim of threats. n