MCP, UTM scoff at Nankhumwa offer

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party say Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president (South) Kondwani Nankhumwa’s dialogue offer is ill-timed.

But political analysts have given contrasting viewpoints on Nankhumwa’s call for dialogue, with some saying it was still relevant despite the elections petitions case in court.

Extended an olive branch: Nankhumwa

In an interview on Wednesday, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka ruled out any possibility of holding dialogue with “a group of people who stole our victory”.

He said: “The only solution is a rerun. Now we are waiting for the court to come up with its determination.

“When you find a thief in your goat kraal stealing, you do not negotiate with him. The May 21 elections were fraudulent and there is no sense in discussing with somebody who stole our victory.”

On his part, UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga said his party’s focus is on establishing the truth regarding the management of results in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Mkaka: The only solution is rerun

He said: “Our priority right now is to see the case finalised in court and thereafter other avenues might be followed.”

In an earlier statement issued on Tuesday evening, MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali described Nankhumwa’s call for dialogue as suspicious and an insult.

Reads the statement: “While we believe contact and dialogue would be a positive approach in resolving the political disputes in our midst, it is an approach that only yields fruit when done in good faith.

“Sadly, Nankhumwa has made no direct approach to MCP either before or since making his public remarks to demonstrate that he indeed made them in good faith.”

During a DPP rally in Blantyre on Sunday, Nankhumwa said he was ready to meet MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Chilima to resolve the political impasse in the aftermath of the elections and ensure an end to demonstrations by sections of civil society organisations (CSOs).

In an earlier interview this week, governance commentator Rafiq Hajat described the impasse as a procedural issue requiring to be handled by the courts.

Another political analyst Nandini Patel said dialogue should not be discredited.

Politician-cum-commentator Humphrey Mvula also agreed that dialogue would help achieve a lot, including reflecting and addressing sticky issues on how elections have been managed since attainment of multiparty democracy up until now where the issue of the 50+1 system of electing a president would emerge.

Malawi uses the First-Past-The-Post system where the candidate with a majority of voters wins.

Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a quasi-religious body formed in 1992 during the country’s political transition from one-party to multiparty system of government, is also engaged in ‘shuttle-diplomacy’ in its post-May 21 Tripartite Elections mediations.

PAC mediators team leader Archibishop Thomas Msusa said in an interview that after the first level of dialogue with Chilima and Chakwera, the team has extended another invitation to President Peter Mutharika.

State House on Sunday indicated that Mutharika was yet to be given proposed dates for a dialogue meeting that was cancelled at the eleventh hour in May this year due to logistical challenges.

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