The in fighting in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is refusing to die, with finger pointing and bickering taking centre stage over the proposal to have Vice president Saulos Chilima contest at the party’s convention for the presidential candidate slot and eventually during the May 2019 tripartite elections.
Men wearing black and white suits, allegedly Democratic Progressive Party – DPP cadets stood at Parliament entrance where they attempted to bar Members of Parliament for Blantyre City East Noel Masangwi and for Mulanje West Patricia kaliati from entering Parliament gates.
First to arrive was Masangwi who tussled with the cadets and managed to find his way through.
But it took almost 45 minutes for Patricia Kaliati to enter through the gate and this was only after the intervention of police officers who came to her rescue.
By the time she was cleared, the President had already started delivering his speech.
Kaliati while at the gate told the Malawi News that the in fighting in the party should not break it.
“I don’t know what wrong I have done, why should people that don’t know the background of this party hold me at ransom… do they know I am a trustee of this party?” she fumed.
She said such people should be asking President Mutharika as to why Chilima was roped in the party.
Kaliati then added that she will soon speak out to tell Malawians the truth.
“Let me say this…when time comes, I will speak, because what is happening in the party is not fair, why should I be labelled that I am supporting the Vice President when the President himself is the greatest supporter of Saulosi Chilima.” Kaliati said
On his part, Masangwi said he regrets that people in his party could be reduced to petty fighters.
But as they were getting out of the chamber, the cadets found Times Group’s cameraman, Douglas Banda, who was strategically positioned to take visuals.
One of them slapped him. It had to take the intervention of Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) journalist Daniel Mababa to stopthe cadets from continuing manhandling him.
That was happening in full view of Jeffrey and Malawi Police Service (MPS).
Minister of Information and Communication Technology Nicholas Dausi said the party will look into the matter and discipline the cadets.
Speaker of the National Assembly Richard Msowoya has since condemned what happened and has assured MPs of protection.
Speaking at the launch of Women Caucus 50-50 Campaign just after the State of National Address the speaker said the barring of the members was unfortunate.
“Let me assure protection of members at these premises. What happened today is unfortunate. The National Assembly will make sure that no member is harassed,” Msowoya said.
Meanwhile MISA Malawi has condemned the assault of Photojournalist Douglas Banda.
In a statement released yesterday signed by chairperson Tereza Ndanga, the Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Malawi) says it is dismayed by the conduct of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters who beat up the Times Group photographer while on duty within Parliament premises in Lilongwe.
Banda, who was filming as the DPP supporters were being evicted from Parliament for disturbing parliamentary proceedings, was ordered by the supporters to delete the pictures he had taken.
It is saddening that Banda was beaten up in full view of the police and DPP Secretary General Gresselder Jeffrey. Banda was rescued by fellow journalists who whisked him away to safety. It is important to also note that the assault happened while President Peter Mutharika was within Parliament premises, said the statement.
MISA Malawi said it condemns in strongest terms the conduct of the DPP supporters and demand that the police should arrest and prosecute Banda’s assailants.
The chapter also demanded that the DPP should publicly condemn this act to demonstrate its commitment towards press freedom in Malawi.
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