Chakwera denies fuelling post-elections violence

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has distanced himself from claims that he is fuelling political violence; instead he has accused President Peter Mutharika of the same for letting police to use excessive force on unarmed protesters.

Chakwera, who has since vowed to continue fighting for ‘justice’ in court, said he does not remember calling for political violence in any of his post-elections press briefings, but that he vowed to die for justice, if need be.

Chakwera (2ndL) stresses a point during the press briefing

He made the sentiments yesterday when he addressed the media at the party’s headquarters in Lilongwe alongside People’s Party (PP) and Freedom Party (FP) officials.

But, in an interview, State House and presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani maintained Mutharika’s words, saying Chakwera allowed his supporters to harass workers at Capital Hill in one of the protests.

He argued that the MCP president is on record as saying he is ready to cause blood, a statement which Chakwera said was quoted out of context.

Chakwera, who came second in the May 21 polls and is disputing results saying that they were rigged, defended his party supporters, saying that they were not doing anything wrong and were unarmed when police began firing hundreds of teargas canisters at the offices where they gathered last Thursday.

In his address to the nation Thursday evening, Mutharika told Malawians that Chakwera, who joined forces with PP in last month’s elections run up, is mobilising party supporters in a political unrest.

But Chakwera said that is a blatant lie which rational Malawians, who are protesting out of anger, cannot subscribe to. He added that they have the constitutional right to demonstrate whenever they feel aggrieved.

Commenting on the matter, University of Livingstonia (Unilia) political scientist George Phiri faulted Mutharika for not understanding the cause of the problem. He also accused him of allowing police to use fire arms when he just called for peace and unity.

According to Phiri, the Malawi Electoral Commission did not handle elections to the expectations of the majority of Malawians.

He argued that Chakwera, who also came second in the 2014 elections, did not in any way fuel violence, saying the protesters are just exercising their constitutional right because of the dissatisfaction they have over the poll results.

Currently, UTM and MCP are expecting the court case, in which they are praying for the nullification of the results, to begin within 26 days..

Meanwhile, Chakwera has since called for the immediate release of 18 party supporters arrested last Thursday at the party’s headquarters where police fired tear gas.

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