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DPP should tame its rabid cadets

I hear there are some rabid overzealous party youths from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that are terrorising people.

They think just because DPP is in power and they can do anything; probably they think they are the law themselves.

This is a sad development as we are now returning to a one-party state in a democracy and some of us will not fear but stand up against such an unbecoming behaviour.

I am not, therefore, surprised that civil society leaders have decided to report the government to the United Nations and other international human rights bodies for violence perpetrated by the DPP cadets.

It is unfortunate that DPP is now back in town not with good news but with violence.

For those who missed the news, herewith some details.

President Peter Mutharika was last week in Blantyre attending activities marking the International Labour Day.

The workers thought of singing songs portraying the challenges they are facing which include high taxes.

The DPP cadets felt this was an insult to Mutharika.

The cadets should know that Mutharika is a Malawi leader first and DPP leader second.

People have a right to make known what they think to their leader either through songs, drama or speeches, even petitions.

Mutharika is human; therefore, this tendency of glorifying a mortal as if he is semi-god or god is as senseless as the decision to harass peaceful workers commemorating their day.

A week earlier, Mutharika was at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) for a presidential function.

While there, the DPP cadets harassed the Lilongwe City Deputy Mayor Cecelia Kaduya, blocking her from entering Bicc and manhandling her in the process.

The DPP cadets accused her of switching her political allegiance from DPP to Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Assuming MKaduya has decided to join MCP, the DPP cadets have nothing to do with this.

We are in a multiparty dispensation; Kaduya has, therefore, the right to join any political party of her choice, including the lawfully registered MCP.

I know most DPP cadets were not there when we voted for multiparty democracy in 1993 because they were too young to vote.

I know that some of the DPP leadership, including President Peter Mutharika, was not there on that chilly June 14 when we voted for multiparty democracy because he was in the US.

The main reason we voted for multiparty democracy was to do away with the culture of violence and impunity.

During the one-party state, the notorious Malawi Young Pioneers, the former paramilitary wing of the MCP and the party’s youth wing, thought they were the law themselves.

This is exactly what is happening now with DPP in power.

This reminds me of the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) reign.

People were maimed or beaten up just for simply speaking against former president Bakili Muluzi’s bid for third term.

I witnessed a sad scenario in Limbe when UDF supporters pounced on a helpless young man and beat him severely just for proclaiming, “sayimanso”, meaning Muluzi would not stand again.

Then, we had the Bingu wa Mutharika DPP.

Over 20 people were mercilessly gunned down during peaceful demonstrations against Bingu’s notoriously arrogant and dictatorial tendencies.

A day prior to the peaceful protests in 2011, DPP cadets were seen brandishing panga knives and moved up and down Blantyre City in DPP-branded vehicles.

Now it is the Mutharika administration. Kaduya has said she is still getting death threats.

The DPP cadets should know that they do not own Malawi.

They have no right whatsoever to intimidate, harass and beat up any person.

The DPP cadets walked with downcast faces and most of them worn oversized hats to conceal their identity when DPP was forced into opposition following the sudden death of Bingu.

It is a shame that DPP is now back, with its trademark; violence and intimidation.

The failure by the government and DPP leadership to condemn the DPP-orchestrated violence clearly shows that this is a state and DPP-sponsored violence.

President Mutharika, as Head of State and head of DPP, should rise beyond petty party politics and condemn the violence.

For those who do not know, the DPP cadets have been engaged in serious violence against the opposition.

One of the incidents I can remember very well is the violence at Providence Industrial Missionin Chiradzulu on Chilembwe Day when the cadets forcibly undressed opposition MCP women of their party attire and some of them were beaten up.

One MCP supporter was treated at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.

Information Minister Nicholas Dausi defended the harassment of the MCP women on the state-controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, arguing MCP officials were distributing party clothes and materials during the function. This is not a right defence and argument.

Who gave the DPP cadets the mandate to harass people? We are in a multiparty democracy not in a one-party state.

DPP can be proudly progressive and democratic; after all, its leader Mutharika had been in the world’s largest and oldest democracy, the US for over 40 years.

There was also another incident at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe where an MCP supporter was beaten up by the overzealous DPP cadets.

President Mutharika can show that he is in control of the party and does not condone violence by ordering the arrest of the violence perpetrators.

If the perpetrators of the violence are brought to justice, others will think twice before they engage in the vice.

Otherwise, the misguided DPP cadets must know that they cannot take Malawi to ransom; they are just ordinary senseless overzealous party cadres!

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