President Peter Mutharika has urged the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) to meet civil society organisations (CSOs) operating under the banner Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM leader Saulos Chilima. Mutharika made the call during an audience he had with a delegation from Pac yesterday in Blantyre at Sanjika Palace.
According to Pac Executive Director Robert Phiri, Mutharika said he is committed to promoting peace in the country.
“The final agreement I can say is that the government is committed to dialogue and promotion of peace. He told us that his doors will always be open to continue with dialogue.
“The agreement was that Pac mediators have to reach out to the other stakeholders and these are Lazarus Chakwera, Saulos Chilima and HRDC,” Phiri said.
Asked on whether the two parties spoke about the current HRDC-led demonstrations pushing for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah, Phiri declined to divulge details on that matter.
“Those are not to be revealed until we convey the message to others, tomorrow [today], we are meeting HRDC in Lilongwe,” he said.
Presidential Secretary Mgeme Kalilani said the meeting was about the state of public affairs in the country following May 21 Tripartite Elections.
“The meeting was cordial and fruitful. Pac will be issuing a statement to update the nation about deliberations at the meeting,” he said.
Led by Thomas Msusa, who is the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Blantyre of the Catholic Church, Pac embarked on a dialogue initiative in a bid to pacify the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition parties disputing the May 21 Tripartite Elections results, especially in the presidential race.
The Pac mediation team comprises members from the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Muslim Association of Malawi, Evangelical Association of Malawi, Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi and Malawi Council of Churches.
Meanwhile, Pac’s intervention has come after former president Bakili Muluzi met with members of the CSOs and Mutharika in a bid to end the political impasse that has been in the country since the polls.
Since Mec declared Mutharika of DPP winner of the May 21 polls, tension has been hovering around the country by several quarters who have been disputing the results of the elections.
Mec announced that Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.57 percent of votes cast while 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.
MCP and UTM are challenging the presidential elections in court seeking nullification of the presidential election results.
Since last month, HRDC has been organising nationwide protests demanding the resignation of Ansah.
The mediation initiative follows the signing of a Pac-advocated Lilongwe Peace Declaration by six of the seven presidential candidates on May 4 in the run-up to the May 21 polls.
Mutharika did not sign as the ceremony coincided with his scheduled travel to the Northern Region.
In 2014, Pac also played a role in opening dialogue among contestants to resolve the election stalemate, again relating to the presidential outcome.