The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has strongly condemned the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) for allegedly inciting political violence against the civil society organization known as Malawi First.
In a statement provided to Nthanda Times, Shadric Namalomba, the spokesperson for the DPP, expressed deep concern over what they perceive as a recurrent pattern of the MCP utilizing public institutions, including the Malawi Police Services, to foment violence against innocent citizens.
Namalomba underscored that the DPP is not surprised by what they consider undemocratic tactics employed by the MCP to suppress their political rivals.
He stated, “The DPP is not surprised with the tendency by MCP to use undemocratic means in order to silence political opponents. Terror is in their DNA. MCP rule is characterized by gross human rights violations since its inception in 1964.”
However, Namalomba’s primary concern lies in the alleged misuse of the Malawi Police Service, an institution constitutionally mandated to protect citizens, to disrupt peaceful demonstrations. Namalomba alleges that during these incidents, armed police officers appeared to collaborate with individuals associated with the MCP who engaged in violent behavior.
Instead of apprehending those responsible for throwing stones at demonstrators, the police are accused of deploying tear gas against the peaceful protesters.
Namalomba stated, “What is of serious concern though, is the use of Malawi Police Service, a state institution, constitutionally mandated to protect citizens, to unleash terror on innocent demonstrators. We saw armed police officers working hand in hand with MCP thugs. Instead of arresting these thugs that pelted stones at the demonstrators, these police officers did the opposite by teargassing the demonstrators.”
Furthermore, Namalomba has challenged President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and the Tonse government to uphold the rule of law. The statement called upon President Chakwera and his administration to respect and protect freedom of expression, as well as the right of citizens to assemble and demonstrate peacefully.
“We call upon President Chakwera and the Tonse Government to observe the rule of law, protect the freedom of expression, and accord the citizenry their right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully. To this effect, President Chakwera must dismiss the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Homeland Security with immediate effect,” reads the statement.
The DPP has also appealed to all Malawians and the international community to refrain from engaging in any form of political violence.
Political Activist Bon Kalindo’s protest in Lilongwe was disrupted by unknown individuals who pelted stones at the demonstrators. In an interview following the failed demonstrations, Kalindo expressed determination to continue exerting pressure on President Lazarus Chakwera to resign.
“We know that the group that disrupted our demonstrations is state-sponsored. It is really sad that the police had to take sides with this group and hurt innocent people who were simply exercising their right to demonstrate,” said Kalindo.
Kalindo also noted the irony of the government blocking demonstrations, considering that such protests played a pivotal role in their rise to power.
He also criticized the opposition for taking advantage of these protests, drawing parallels with the MCP’s actions in 2019/20.
Kalindo had led the protesters to State House with the intention of delivering a petition demanding President Lazarus Chakwera’s resignation.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) has called for an immediate arrest of the people who disreputed the demonstrations.
CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa told Nthanda Times in an interview that every Malawian has a right to demonstrate regardless of their political affiliation.
Kaiyatsa added that the act of law enforcers raised suspicions that they seemed to be in agreement with people who disturbed the protests.