The Democratic Progress Party (DPP) is a party that thrives on violence. It is a legacy that its founder, the late president Bingu wa Mutharika, bequeathed on the political grouping’s remnants.
And it is becoming increasingly evident that this is a heritage that the party is religiously, zealously and proudly displaying.
The way Bingu invented violence in the party is the mark of genius. He used the oldest and most effective tool in the world: words, just words.
Remember when Bingu asked the youth wing of his then ruling DPP to protect him by dealing with his critics that he called ‘insignificant people’ when he was in his idea of a good mood or ‘tiankhwezule’ when he was grumpy?
I also recall vividly Bingu telling his detractors through Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) that “I will smoke you out”.
This is the same fellow who threatened to declare war on the civil society and set Malawi on fire, if need be—the same country in which he was Head of State.
I remember warning at the time that violent words have consequences. True to my words, Bingu-inspired violence terrorised the country.
People died from police bullets. Markets were set ablaze. Cars and houses were petro-bombed and a brilliant student’s life was extinguished.
If you think I am exaggerating, just ask relatives of the July 20 victims who were murdered in cold blood in 2011.
Prior to the massacre, panga-wielding youths ferried in DPP-branded vehicles went around Blantyre in July 19 threatening innocent people.
If you doubt me, go to Kameza in Blantyre where you will meet a family still grieving the violent death of their then 25-year old son, Polytechnic engineering student Robert Chasowa, a vocal critic of the DPP regime.
If you believe I am making this up, ask Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) executive director Rafiq Hajat and other human rights activists that smelt petrol bombs either in their offices or their homes.
In case you are still not convinced, just ask privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), which had two of its cars bombed: one in broad day-light and the other in the middle of the night.
The list of DPP atrocities is very long.
The point is that DPP is a party that believes if it loses an argument to someone, that person has to be defeated violently.
That is why I am not surprised by the Thyolo mayhem. We all know that the violence started way before a speech by Health Minister Catherine Gotani Hara—who DPP blames for inciting the violence in her speech in which she simply stated that being one’s brother is no qualification for the presidency. Is that statement provocative?
There is just one cause of the Thyolo violence: DPP intolerance. The party could not stomach the fact that President Joyce Banda—the People’s Party (PP) presidential candidate that DPP crazily believes snatched the presidency from its leader Peter Mutharika right under his nose—could have the temerity to hold a rally right in what they think is their backyard.
It is a sulky, ridiculous thought given that Mrs. Banda is the Head of State and controls any piece of land in this country—meaning that she can go anywhere she damn well pleases.
I mean, Peter Mutharika, an ordinary opposition presidential challenger, went into the President’s home area of Domasi in Zomba where he held a rally without incident. What makes the DPP think that Thyolo is their exclusive vote hunting ground?
The other day, United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi tasted the DPP violence around Bvumbwe in the same district.
He, too, uttered provocative words? Okay, let’s assume both UDF and PP said something provocative, which they did not, is that justification enough for stoning innocent people and—in the case of Thyolo—causing mayhem that kills two people? You really get the sense that violence is the DNA or the heart and soul of DPP. If this party returns to power, things can only get worse. Is this what Malawians want?
Let me end by sharing the feedback below on last week’s Cut the Chaff from a reader of the piece titled: Is RBM trying to kill Saccos?
I read your article as titled above in the March 15 edition of Weekend Nation with interest. The points you raised in the article are very genuine and a major concern to the movement. Much as we welcome the fact that the directives are aimed to strengthen the governance and financial management of the Saccos, cost of compliance to the directives are very heavy. I can speak from a Sacco directors’ perceptive that the directives are too demanding. As you have pointed out, the financial worthiness of the Saccos have been mostly contributed by low income earner members. RBM will be enforcing these directives very soon and others are already in force and yet they are failing to act on government ministries who are failing to remit member deductions to the Saccos. This has been a long standing outcry; the RBM governor has only managed to give assurance than action. If RBM is indeed serious about the growth and sustainability of Saccos, let them push for the remittance of millions being held by government to the respective Saccos. The amount of liquidity required to comply with directives will force some Saccos to drastically cut on loans being provided to members, which may consequently lead Saccos losing membership and leading to death of some Saccos. My personal view is that, yes, RBM is over-regulating the Saccos in these harsh economic times.—Pita via e-mail.
I can only say: Well put Pita.