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HRCC backs dialogue calls

By Faith Kadzanja, Jameson Chauluka & Rebecca Chimjeka:

Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has backed calls for discussion among Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM. However, other stakeholders have differed with HRCC.

HRCC Chairperson, Robert Mkwezalamba, said dialogue was important because even after the court makes a ruling on the May 21 Tripartite Elections’ case, some quarters would not be happy with the outcome and, to avoid further political tension, parties involved must start discussing.

DPP Southern Region vice-president, Kondwani Nankhumwa, on Sunday said the governing party was ready to meet with the opposition for dialogue to end the post-elections impasse rocking the country.

Mkwezalamba said there was a need for dialogue as opposed to simply looking at the ruling which the High Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, would make.

“There is a call from DPP that they are ready to start dialoging; all we are saying is that is the route to take because all the demonstrations and the court process are all ways of seeking justice. So, dialogue is an advantage of the whole process.”

“Given the situation that we are in, we are saying from our analysis—as well as from experience elsewhere—when a court nullifies election results there is always conflicts or problems. One who was declared the winner would want the situation to remain the same. In the other situation, where the court says the elections were free, the applicants will still complain,” he said.

Meanwhile, MCP, through spokesperson Maurice Munthali, has maintained that the party does not buy DPP’s approach of dialogue, arguing that the party did not make the call in good faith.

“Nakhumwa’s position in the DPP is that of a regional vice-president, his presumption to convene a meeting with presidents or other political parties who are not his positional counterparts erodes the good faith. As such, MCP will only answer those calls for contact and dialogue whose goal is to accomplish that clear aspiration of the Malawian people,” Munthali says in the communiqué.

Political commentator Makhumbo Munthali has, however, said MCP concerns were valid, arguing that Mutharika and other DPP officials are sending conflicting messages on the call for dialogue.

“Calls for dialogue would make much sense if they were made and led by President Mutharika. It would be lack of seriousness on the part of DPP to send a party regional vice-president to meet [Lazarus] Chakwera and [Saulos] Chilima on such a serious matter,” Munthali said

Nankhumwa, who is also Agriculture Minister, said he was ready to bring the two sides to a negotiating table, saying the post-elections impasse and the anti- Malawi Electoral Commission demonstrations were suffocating the country’s economy.

MCP and UTM petitioned the court over what they described as irregularities that marred the elections. People in the country have been demonstrating against the results.

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