The long awaited condemnation of the growing spate of political violence has come from President Peter Mutharika, after several urgings from civil society, women politicians from various political parties and even the religious bodies.
It had to take pressure from these bodies and even the Democratic Progressive Party’s own member of the national executive committee for Mutharika to acknowledge that there are incidences of political violence in the country.
But the sham of a press release coming out of State House is as good as not saying anything at all. It falls short of condemning the violence as being perpetrated by the DPP itself. It is a show of ‘go ahead’ to the party sponsored violence that
Through their actions, the DPP has opened itself up to scrutiny and the statement from the President should have extended that scrutiny to the Police urging them to investigate any elements within its party which might be sponsoring this violence.
The absence of remorse in the President’s statement is an indication that he has not accepted that his DPP could be involved in this at all.
This is a President who has for a long time failed to discipline supporters of his party who are plying the country’s roads with number plates that lawfully are not allowed.
The Police and Directorate of Road Traffic Services know these individuals but are helpless to act. It is either APM knows what is going on or he is sleeping at State House and has lost control of his own government.
There is a price to pay for the impunity of our politicians; history is a good teacher of that.
At the height of its popularity, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and by extension Malawi Congress Party (MCP) before some semblance of democracy and human rights entered its fray, were known for such acts.
If it was not State sponsored violence through the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP), some elements within MCP took it upon themselves to flex muscles all in the name of Kamuzu.
When it deemed itself untouchable, the man who gifted us a whole lost decade of chaos president Bakili Muluzi paid a blind eye to the violence that his UDF henchmen were inflicting on ordinary citizens.
The result of such impunity is what Malawians are seeing now: UDF relegated to the peripherals of Malawian politics with the only hope of disappearing from the political radar being a vice presidency that is unlikely to come.
On several occasions, the majority of Malawians have given MCP the mandate to lead Parliament but fears are still there that given too much power, MCP is dangerous.
But the DPP and Mutharika should know that elections will not be won by a show of violence and intimidation. The DPP will not be voted back into power by spilling the blood of competitors or shaming a woman exercising her constitutionally given right to belong to a political party of her choice.
An election will not be won with ‘mercy’ as APM put it over the weekend. If the people do not want you, they will vote you out on May 21, without mercy.
The only reason that Malawians will vote for DPP will not be out of respect for APM’s old age, if that is what he was implying during the whistle-stop tour in Blantyre.
You can only demand respect when you give it. APM’s DPP administration has clearly demonstrated a lack of respect for rule of law and people’s wishes.
The DPP will win the election by demonstrating that they have fulfilled their campaign promises. It would help them greatly if this fulfillment of promises did not take place months to the election.
No Malawian can profess to need a bridge, a school block, a health centre or even medicines in the hospitals only when elections are around the corner. It is an insult to the voters who put the DPP in power with the hope that the administration would be the answer to its prayers. n