By Stevie Chauluka:
Quasi-religious body Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has warned political parties against being over-confident of victory in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, saying that can trigger violence and rejection of a valid outcome of elections.
Pac Chairperson, Reverend Felix Chingota, sounded the warning Tuesday in Blantyre when the organisation met Umodzi Party president John Chisi to discuss National Prayers on the Signing of Peace Declaration ahead of the elections.
“We have noted that presidential candidates claim victory through their own calculation of expected votes in the forthcoming elections. While candidates have the right to do so, their anticipated victory should not be based on counting heads through rallies ; as election results are based on votes cast and counted.
“Over-confidence is welcome but should neither be a trigger to violence nor rejection of a valid outcome of elections. We, therefore, kindly caution presidential candidates not to over-state their potential during the electoral process,” Chingota said.
He also said Pac had observed that political violence and rigging claims threaten the electoral process.
Chingota reminded political leaders that they have a role to play to minimise electoral challenges as the country inches towards the polls.
“We, therefore, wish to commit ourselves to contribute towards the promotion of peace and unity in Malawi through dialogue, advocacy and mediation facilitation. We will, as an organisation, continue to remain impartial in the pursuit of such endeavours,” he said.
Pac is meeting presidential candidates, asking them to sign the peace declaration ahead of the elections as a way of ensuring violence-free elections.
The body already met President Peter Mutharika on December 13 last year, who accepted to sign the peace declaration.
Pac will hold the National Prayers and Peace Declaration on May 4 in Lilongwe under the theme: ‘Advancing Peace in the Quest for Free, Fair and Credible Elections’.
Apart from Mutharika and Chisi, Pac met Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front and Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development.
Pac Publicity Secretary, Peter Mulomole, said they are yet to meet Saulos Chilima of UTM, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party and Reverend Hardwick Kaliya who is an independent candidate.
They are also yet to meet Cassim Chilumpha, who is yet to confirm his meeting dates with Pac.
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