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DPP challenges Lazarus Chakwera

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) senior officials Wednesday took turns to criticise Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera for taking the issue of alleged threats of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate for Nsanje Lalanje to members of the diplomatic community.

The DPP officials including Minister of Information, Nicholas Dausi, Minister of Labour, Francis Kasaila, and Ken Msonda, a member of the DPP National Governing Council (NGC), addressed a press conference at Central Office of Information, in Lilongwe

But the MCP insists that in such circumstances, what they have done is right.

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Chakwera, on Tuesday, wrote the US Embassy, Germany Embassy, European Union Delegation, British High Commission and the United Nations on the alleged intimidation of the candidate, Lawrence Sitolo.

The DPP officials argue that if the MCP has evidence that the DPP has conducted itself in breach of elections code of conduct, it has to channel the complaint to “right institutions.”

Dausi said the country’s Constitution recognises institutions that are supposed to handle different complaints.

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“Any election, including the by-election in Nsanje Lalanje, has a code of conduct that is enforced by the Malawi Electoral Commission. If MCP has evidence that the DPP has conducted itself in breach of this code, let them go to the Malawi Electoral Commission and complain,” Dausi said.

He added: “If MCP has evidence that their candidate is receiving threats, let them go and report to the police. MCP does not need reminding that issuance of threats is a crime. The responsible agency for handing such cases is the police,” Dausi said.

He also said some of the issues raised in Chakwera’s letter could better be handled by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Dausi, however, had a torrid task to justify whether it was DPP speaking or it was government.

“This is government speaking. The MCP is trying to drag members of the diplomatic community into partisan politics. Since he has written to the diplomatic community, we are responding as government,” he said.

Kasaila said what MCP has done is an indication that the party is desperate.

“It is very clear that our colleagues in MCP are becoming desperate. They are just creating the issue. They thought that people of the Shire Valley are up for sale. But these people have principles,” he said.

MCP Deputy Secretary General, Eisenhower Mkaka, said some government departments the DPP officials are suggesting are yet to resolve issues relating to MCP.

“You may recall that there is an issue of violence that erupted in Mzuzu, the police are yet to conclude that issue. There was a plan to set our headquarters on fire, the police are also yet to finish their investigations. For this issue, we thought it is right to alert the donors. We are talking about someone’s life here,” Mkaka said.

In the communication, Chakwera said the DPP members asked Sitolo to either receive K100 million and defect from the MCP to become an independent candidate or resign and accept a diplomatic posting to unnamed duty station and K50 million on top.

The other offer to Sitolo which Chakwera claimed is that President Peter Mutharika would be offering the candidate an MP salary and related benefits if he does not contest.

In the letter, Chakwera is requesting an immediate intervention by the diplomatic community by helping investigating the matter and ask Mutharika to stop what the people are doing.

Chakwera said the people involved in the intimidation of Sitolo were businessman Leston Mulli, parliamentarian Noel Masangwi, DPP Regional Governor for the Southern Region Charles Mchacha and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa.

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