By Jameson Chauluka:
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Southern Region vice-president, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Sunday said he was ready to initiate dialogue with opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM to end the post-elections impasse rocking the country.
Nankhumwa said this at a rally he addressed at Nyambadwe Primary School Ground in Blantyre.
“Even if honourable [Lazarus] Chakwera [MCP leader] says I should go to his house tomorrow to start the negotiations, I will go. If Dr [Saulos] Chilima [UTM president] says I should go to his office, I will go. I should also ask distinguished citizens of the country such as Dr Bakili Muluzi, Dr Joyce Banda [former State presidents] and former [State] vice-president Justin Malewezi to try and mediate between the government and the opposition to end this impasse,” he said.
Nankhumwa said the country was losing out economically due to the anti- Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah’s demonstrations which, he said, were crippling businesses in the country.
“Banks are failing to open when the demonstrations are going on. We have seen shops being vandalised in the name of demonstrations; so, what we are saying is that these demonstrations will not take us anywhere. The country has to move forward. We had been meeting Dr Chilima and Dr Chakwera before we disagreed and we can do the same,” he said.Advertisement
Speaking earlier, DPP publicity secretary, Nicholas Dausi, reiterated that planners of the mass protests would pay for the property lost or damaged in the demonstrations.
MCP and UTM have been backing countrywide demonstrations which Human Rights Defenders Coalition have been organising pushing for Ansah’s resignation for allegedly mismanaging May 21 presidential election results.
MCP publicity secretary Maurice Munthali and his UTM counterpart Joseph Chidanti-Malunga gave mixed reactions to Nankhumwa’s extension of the olive branch.
Munthali said: “Peace is a commodity that everybody treasures in this country but you don’t take such remarks seriously until MCP gets an official communication from DPP. Dr Chakwera has never closed the door on anybody. What is happening is due to election results and, if DPP is ready to give us answers, let them come and explain to us what happened. However, let this not be mere empty talk.”
Chidanti-Malunga said they had been at the receiving end of attacks allegedly perpetrated by DPP; hence UTM treats the offer for dialogue with caution.
“If whatever they are saying is true, we can listen to them. We are complaining about elections and not because we should be winning all the time but we should lose because people did not vote for us. So, if they are coming back to their senses, we are ready to listen to them,” he said.
UTM vice-president Michael Usi, speaking at a rally which Chilima addressed in Mangochi District Sunday, said if UTM, DPP and MCP leaders, who took part in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, had explored dialogue, the issue of demonstrations could not have risen.
“Things in this country are not the same because of failure of political leaders to discuss issues. If Chilima, Chakwera and Mutharika had sat down and discussed all the concerns, today we could have been moving forward,” Usi said.
Usi encouraged Malawians to remain peaceful as the country is waiting for the Constitutional Court determination in which MCP and UTM are challenging presidential election results
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