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Peter Mutharika takes on opposition

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By Serah Makondetsa:

DELIGHTED—Demonstrator

President Peter Mutharika Friday took a swipe at opposition parties for what he described as usual cries from the opposition after every election.

Mutharika made the remarks when he was addressing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters who paraded in the city as a way of celebrating their win during the May 21 polls as announced by the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) on May 27 2019.

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But Malawi Congress Party (MCP) expressed shock at Mutharika’s remarks while UTM was surprised by the sentiments as the matter is in court.

Mutharika, who commended his supporters for parading peacefully, mocked the opposition parties that his party will not allow any of them to take over government.

“We should not let the opposition go in government until 2085. By 2024, I want the whole country to be blue. Let me commend you for demonstrating peacefully, destroying property or injuring people is not Malawian.

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“They will forever be in opposition. I will continue doing development. I will support you until 2084 and, if I am not there, my people will continue with the party. I am not against peaceful demonstrations and all those that destroyed property and caused violence will be arrested,” he said.

Mutharika then commended his supporters for voting for DPP arguing the international observers declared the elections free and fair.

“All of you who are saying Tipp-Ex this, Tipp-Ex that know that you lost during the elections and we know you did not have points to lure over voters. Remember during campaign, we said these elections will either make or break the country and you see Malawians chose to make when they voted us in power,” he said.

The victory parade comes at a time when MCP and UTM petitioned the High Court to nullify the elections on allegations that they were marred by irregularities.

MCP wanted the court to review the decision by Mec to consider results of presidential elections from areas which it says were marred by tampering of tally sheets before amended the petition to outright rerun.

The party also wants the court to review the electoral body’s decision, through its presiding officers, who refused to give copies of genuine tally sheets to the party’s accredited monitors.

While UTM’s former vice-president Saulos Chilima argues the results of the elections were processed fraudulently and in breach of the law in favour of Mutharika.

Chilima claims Mec officials failed to provide or refused to provide UTM representatives with result-sheet records as provided by the law, a situation, he said, opened the result records to tampering and interference.

However, DPP Southern Region governor Charles Mchacha said, as far as they are concerned, the party was declared winner by the institution that is mandated to run the affairs of the elections.

“Mec, which we all trusted to run the elections, announced that the DPP won, so those who think otherwise are just wasting their time. We won free and fair and this why have decided to show our excitement and boast the morale of our followers. In as far as we are concerned, we are the legitimate winners of the elections,” he said.

UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga said he could not make a tangible comment on Mutharika’s remarks as the matter is still in court.

“We cannot say much because we know the laws of the country do not permit us to comment on issues that are in court. But we are surprised that they are commenting on a matter that is yet to be judged in court. Should we assume they already know the outcome of the court ruling,” he said.

MCP campaign director Moses Kumkuyu said MCP is a party that knows its rights, hence petitioning the court on the matter.

“We are not crying babies; we are people that understand the rights that we have as citizens that include the right to seek court’s intervention when we feel underserved by institutions that we, as citizens, do finance with our taxes. It is unfortunate that Mr Mutharika continues to talk about matters that are backed by our Constitution and are before the courts in such a fashion.

“Where we are now, whether the election produced a winner is not a thing Mec can boldly speak on anymore but the courts in the next few weeks. Malawians know how the elections were mismanaged and no matter how many people get hired to sing praise songs in town, the truth is around the corner and Malawi will be redeemed,” he said.

Mec announced that Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.57 percent of votes cast while MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera got 1,781,740 votes, representing 35.41 percent.

Chilima came third after getting 1,018,369 votes, translating into 20.24 percent of votes counted.

Meanwhile from last month, civil society organisations, operating under the banner Human Rights Defenders Coalition, have been organising nationwide protests, among others, demanding the resignation of Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah for allegedly running a fraudulent election.

The parade started at DPP’s Southern Region Headquarters in Sunny Side all the way to Sanjika Palace via the Clock Tower Roundabout.

Among other notable people who participated in the march were Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji, Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi, Mchacha and DPP’s secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey.

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