Centre for Development of People (Cedep) and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) have condemned presidential candidates who did not show up at the Tuesday’s first presidential debate in Lilongwe.
According to Cedep executive director Gift Trapence, they are disappointed with those two major political parties that failed to attend what he described as historical debate.
“The employers, who are citizens of this country were supposed to be given a meaningful platform to hear what agenda they have for this country. This is a rare opportunity unlike political rallies where citizens cannot ask them questions to clarify what is in their manifesto. The citizens expectations arehigh, they have suffered enough and they should not underrate their quest to have a good leader,” he said.
The sentiments are also echoed in a joint media statement released on Wednesday by the organisations in which they have described the debate as a missed opportunity for the absentees.
“We register our lamentation at the absence of some presidential candidates Banda, Mutharika and others. In what could be described as a retrogressive precedent to Malawian nascent democracy, the two candidates, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to shun the event,” reads the statement signed by Trapence and CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo in part.
“The move is no doubt an insult to the electorate.”
Last Friday, PP secretary general Paul Maulidi told The Nation that Banda would not participate in the debates because she is busy with campaign.
Mutharika’s personal assistant Ben Phiri said his boss would not attend the first debate because he received the questions late.
The next debate is scheduled for Tuesday next week while the third one will take place on May 6.