By Tiyese Monjeza:
The Women’s Manifesto Movement has challenged the Malawi Police Service to swiftly investigate and arrest perpetrators of the political violence which is escalating as the country readies for the fresh presidential election.
The movement, which advocates for women’s rights, says recent cases of violence such as destruction of property including Malawi Election Commission equipment and physical injury of security personnel, party monitors and innocent individuals are deplorable.
“Political violence violates people’s constitutional rights and results in low participation of both aspirants and voters in the election. Furthermore, violence denies people their right to join and participate in political activities of their choice,” the statement reads in part.
In an interview, one of the members of the group, Barbara Banda, called on electoral stakeholders such as the police, non-governmental organisations and political parties to promote issue-based campaign ahead of the fresh poll.
“We want protection of women and everyone. As a democratic country, we have to do better on issues of respecting each other’s rights to be affiliated to a political grouping of their choice without being intimidated,” said Banda.
National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said the police are investigating some of the incidents of political violence that were reported to the law enforcement arm.
“We are committed to curbing these acts of violence and the acting Inspector General of Police, Duncan Mwapasa, is planning to meet leaders of political parties to find long lasting solutions to the incidences,” Kadadzera said.
National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju, said as a way of promoting peace ahead of fresh presidential election, the institution will intensify peace-building meetings across the country to sensitise Malawians to the evils of violence.
Last week, unknown people torched UTM offices in Lilongwe where seven family members who were living in the building had their bodies severely burnt. Two of them died while receiving treatment at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
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