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Peter Mutharika, HRDC in verbal spat

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While majority of citizens are in a merry mood sending each other messages of hope and wishes for a better life in the New Year, there is still no love lost between President Peter Mutharika and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).

HRDC has, since the announcement of results of the May 21 Tripartite Elections, being orchestrating protests aimed at forcing the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, for “mismanaging the election results”.

Mutharika, who contested on a Democratic Progressive Party ticket, was declared winner of the polls whose results are being contested at the constitutional court.

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In his New Year’s Day message, Mutharika accused the HRDC of bringing chaos in the country and operating “like a terrorist grouping”.

“My appeal goes to all political leaders including the leaders of HRDC because HRDC is by its actions a political organisation. HRDC is a political organisation that is slowly degenerating into a terrorist organisation because its leaders enjoy creating terror among Malawians,” reads the statement which also attacks other political parties for “inciting violence after the May 21 Tripartite Elections.”

HRDC Vice Chairperson, Gift Trapence, instead accused Mutharika for fanning embers of discord at a time the country is waiting for a court ruling on the elections case.

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According to Trapence, Mutharika should be careful and desist from making such statements.

“HRDC serves the people and his [Mutharika’s] remarks are a direct attack on the citizens. He is fermenting violence. Perhaps this is why the citizens openly express their dislike for the president because he visibly lacks leadership qualities. He doesn’t build. He always destroys,” he said.

Trapence said instead of Mutharika labelling civil society organisations as terrorist, his focus must be on taming party youths, known as cadets, for “terrorising” people who hold dissenting political views.

“The President must direct his terrorism message to his party boys. It is them who have waged all sorts of terror on Malawians including corruption and impunity,” he said.

Trapence further said as HRDC, they are not intimidated by the president’s attack and will continue fighting for the rights of Malawians to rise up against political oppression.

In his New Year’s Day message, Mutharika asked civil servants to stand firms and concentrate on building Malawi other than getting too engrossed in politics which he said derails national progress.

“I want to thank farmers who work hard and feed this country; teachers who spend sleepless nights to teach our children; nurses and doctors who care to heal the nation; soldiers and police officers who sacrifice themselves to make Malawi a secure country; and there are many more examples,” he said.

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