✓We respect rights of citizens including demos–KUNKUYU
By Yamikani Harji, MACHINGA
Malawi’s Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa is threatening to engage the international community including the country’s traditional donors if President Lazarus Chakwera remains silent on the unwarranted violence being unleashed on his critics.
His threat follows disruption of protests pushing for the resignation of President Chakwera for his alleged failure to manage state affairs on Thursday in the capital Lilongwe.
They think the Malawi leader has no solutions to the prevailing bad economy, rampant corruption, high cost of living, hunger and forex woes rocking the nation.
A grouping under the banner, Malawi First, had a rude awakening when unknown thugs suspected to be governing Malawi Congress Party-MCP sponsored operatives blocked their way to State House.
They carried panga knives, axes and stones; warning to deal with the protests organizers especially their leader and controversial political activist, Bon Kalindo.
It’s alleged that police treated the violent intruders with kid gloves as allies instead of taking them head-on for disrupting a legally accepted demonstration.
Nankhumwa reminds Chakwera that he is the president of the whole nation and not just for a handful MCP supporters; fearing the ugly undemocratic scenes are driving the country on a dangerous path of anarchy.
“The scale at which violence is being perpetrated by MCP operatives is deeply alarming, and to think that it is happening now when elections are almost 24 months away is even troubling,” he says.
He also fears that if left unchecked the situation might get out of control and give birth to dangerous implications.
Adds Nankhumwa: “My question is, why are you misusing the police? Why not deploy the police to deal with the security breakdown in the country than sending them to shoot at innocent and unsuspecting Malawians who are only enjoying their freedom to conduct peaceful demonstrations.”
He has since asked President Chakwera to immediately address the nation and reassure Malawians of their safety, ensure investigations are done and perpetrators of the violence punished.
In his communication to Chakwera, Nankhumwa, who is also Vice President for South for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party-DPP, has threatened to join the next mass protests together with millions of other well-meaning Malawians if nothing is done.
Reacting to the development, Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu says this administration respects the rights of the citizens including the right to express their opinions openly like holding peaceful demonstrations.
“We hear there were crashes between the demonstrators and vendors in the city. Government has nothing to do with this and we condemn any acts of violence regardless of the cause.
He further calls on city and district authorities to ensure that pre-demonstration meetings are attended by all stakeholders including those representing groups.
On Thursday, National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya feigned ignorance that those who disrupted the anti-Chakwera demos had dangerous weapons such as panga knives.
Nankhumwa and Kunkuyu respectively.