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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

DPP hooliganism drowned Peter Mutharika’s message of hope

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We believe the message President Peter Mutharika wanted to deliver to Malawians Friday is one of hope, with eyes firmly on 2019 elections which is just twelve months away.

So he rambled for more than 45 minutes, questionably telling us that his government has delivered to Malawians.

Unfortunately, this message cannot sink into the hearts of Malawians as the picture that the President wanted to portray seems to be clearer in his head than the reality on the ground.

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That said, there is another reason why the message that the President wanted sunk into Malawian hearts did not; and it is his party to blame.

The ruling party saw the State of the Nation address to Parliament as an opportunity to proverbially wash its dirty linen in public and the results were the mayhem that happened which saw DPP parliamentarians such as Patricia Kaliati being roughed up for their perceived support of Vice President Saulos Chilima.

This was disturbing as the chaos was compounded by DPP cadets manhandling our TV photojournalist whose only crime was doing his job of capturing pictures as the unruly bunch was being flushed out of the Parliament chamber by security personnel.

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It has to be borne in mind that Very Important Persons (VIPs) such as diplomats, technocrats and others patronise such events hence it was rather despicable for the unruly group to create a scene by jeering while the Head of State was giving his speech.

Even attempts by the Speaker of Parliament, who stood up and ordered security to attend to the disturbance, could not curtail the distraction which only ended when more security personnel came in to help.

What we find unfortunate is the manhandling of our media practitioner, coming just a day after World Press Freedom Day which falls on May 3 each year.

The hooligans even had the tenacity to slap the scribe while they were being marched out of the chamber by security agents, who together with Parliament staff, came to the aid of the journalist.

All this is coming just because the DPP cannot democratically settle the call by some of its own who feel the President is advanced in age to run again for presidency next year and should, instead, hand over the mantle to Chilima.

We have simple pieces of advice to the DPP, prime of which is that the problem of some within its ranks calling for Chilima to take over will not go away on its own. A democratic way must be found.

Secondly, they should look back into history of our multiparty democracy and see whether Malawians have ever been cowed by violence and they will find none.

What the party engineered Friday— hooliganism– has simply drowned the message of hope the President wanted to deliver to Malawians.

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