By Pilirani Kachinziri
Human rights defenders have criticised Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, for defending party cadets suspected of terrorising members of the opposition parties ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
There have been pockets of violence reported in the Southern Region, which is DPP’s stronghold.
Political analysts feel this is a tactic by DPP to intimidate opposition parties which are gaining ground in its stronghold ahead of the polls.
During a whistle-stop tour which President, Peter Mutharika conducted in Blantyre on Sunday, Dausi disassociated the cadets from the political violence and promised that the government would deal with the perpetrators.
He faulted Malawi Congress Party member Edward Govati, who was attacked at his Kanjedza Township house last week, for implicating DPP Cadets in his ordeal.
Apart from Govati, some UTM supporters were also assaulted by people who are believed to be DPP Cadets.
In a video clip, which went viral on the social media, perpetrators were seen undressing the two victims, one of them a woman wearing a UTM T-shirt.
Two suspects were arrested and are remanded at Mangochi Prison after being charged with insulting the modesty of a woman and robbery with violence.
On Sunday, violence ensued in Mangochi during DPP primary elections where a vehicle belonging to one of the presiding officers, Aaron Sangala, had its glasses smashed by the party’s supporters who were unhappy with the outcome of the primary elections.
DPP is yet to issue a statement on the issue of violence.
Addressing a rally in Blantyre, Dausi alleged that Govati was attacked over issues related to a girlfriend and the incident had nothing to do with politics`.
However, Govati has denied the allegations and said this is a deliberate ploy by the DPP to divert people’s attention from the issue.
“I know DPP has been coaxing women to lie against me so that they can twist the story. I am talking to my lawyers who will be giving me an opinion on his [Dausi’s] statement in 48 hours,” he said Monday.
Centre for the Development of People Executive Director, Gift Trapence, said Dausi’s statement is promoting violence.
“It shows that the DPP is living in denial when all the pointers are indicating that the violence is being perpetrated by DPP Cadets. We even have a video footage showing that,” he said.
Trapence said it is unfortunate that as Homeland Security Minister, Dausi, is defending people who have broken the law.
“The statement is promoting lawlessness [in the country],” Trapence said.
Chancellor College political analyst, Mustapha Hussein, said it is of no use for the party to be denying that people in party regalia are perpetrating violence, saying what is important is finding a solution to the vice.
“What is important is that the police should be thorough in their work in as far as ending the violence is concerned,” he said.
Asked to shed more light on his claims on violence, Dausi said he had no comment.
“How did you put that story on the front page without talking to the other side [DPP]. You can write whatever you want,” he said.
When the reporter reminded him that he was quoted in the earlier story that exposed alleged DPP Cadets’ terror on opposition party members, Dausi cut the telephone line.
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