Political analysts, activists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have appealed to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to tame its young supporters called cadets.
The appeal follows recent reports that the cadets have been causing terror in functions where the President and officials from other parties attend.
On Tuesday last week, members of the DPP’s youth wing allegedly turned the funeral ceremony of politician Helen Singh at Comesa Hall in Blantyre into a battle ground as they bayed for the blood of Malawi Congress Party leaders.
And on Wednesday, the DPP cadets were accused of chasing the Lilongwe Deputy Mayor Juliana Kaduya from attending the commissioning of Malawi National Fibre Backbone Project which was presided over by President Peter Mutharika.
Kaduya was told to leave the Bingu International Conference Centre auditorium few minutes before Mutharika arrived at the venue.
The conduct by DPP cadets has prompted political analysts, activists and CSOs to advise the ruling party to control its boys.
Chancellor College political analyst Mustapha Hussein said the conduct by the cadets needs to be tamed, adding the government should take lead in encouraging the youth to take part in developmental issues and not use them as tools for intimidation.
“If such conduct is not well managed, it leads to political intolerance, tension and even violence. On the other hand, events of national interest should be enjoyed by all citizens and not specific party supporters, the leadership ought to look into this seriously,” Hussein said.
Executive Director of Church and Society Moses Mkandawire expressed concern over the conduct of the cadets, describing it as unfortunate and undemocratic.
Mkandawire said he was expecting the leader of the DPP to condemn the behaviour because it is creating fear among Malawians.
“My appeal to the leadership is that they should discipline their supporters because there have been several attacks by cadets and such is not tolerated in a democratic society. In democracy, we believe in the concept of human rights, different views and negotiations but if the party is silent, then it is unfortunate to use the youth as weapons of terror,” Mkandawire said.
However, DPP’s spokesperson Francis Kasaila said all the reports about the conduct of cadets are allegations; hence, there is no evidence that cadets are attacking followers of other parties.
“We have not received such reports as a party. Those who are attacked should report to police with evidence. Otherwise, DPP as a party is not aware of these allegations,” Kasaila said.
DPP supporters are also alleged to have beaten MCP supporters during Chilembwe Day in January this year.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) has called on government to formulate a specific legislation that guarantees the protection of activists and human rights defenders.
In a statement, the Executive Directors for the two organisations Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence faulted the government for being a spectator over the alleged issues.
“We have observed with deep alarm recent human rights and governance spectacles that are gradually plunging the country into a Police State. We are calling upon government to stop using the police and DPP cadets as tools for intimidating and shutting down civil space in the country,” reads the statement.
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