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Public Affairs Committee writes Peter Mutharika

By Serah Chilora:

Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has said it is waiting for President Peter Mutharika to respond to its request for re-engagement after the committee met with Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah on the country’s current political impasse.

Speaking to Malawi News Friday, Pac Executive Director Robert Phiri said, upon meeting Ansah, the committee was supposed to re-engage UTM, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Human Rights Defenders Coalition and Mutharika.

Presidential Secretary Mgeme Kalilani said they have not yet received the said communication from Pac.

“The issue of Pac seeking an audience with the President is taking unfortunate dimensions, I am saying unfortunate because it has been almost a month now and we have not received the said communication. I will get back to you with new information on the matter in case something has happened in between,” he said.

However, Kalilani did not come back to us until we went to press.

But Phiri said only when they meet Mutharika first, they will re-engage with the other stakeholders.

“We are waiting for the indulgence of his communication. Only after we engage with him, we can go to the rest. We wrote them sometime back and I am aware there is commitment from that side,” he said.

However, despite several engagements Pac has conducted, incidents of violence have escalated.

Phiri argued that Pac is looking at the broader picture of the matter and not just the current situation.

“That is not the target, we are not only looking at violence, violence is just one of the side effects from what is happening in the political situation. What we are focusing on is the dialogue which is wider to look at underlying issues as well.

“A lot of people have attached the dialogue that we were looking at the violence, we are even looking at how these parties will deal with the issues even after the court case, so for us, it is beyond the current violence,” he said.

On Saturday, upon his arrival from Russia-Africa Summit in Russia, Mutharika came out and emphasised the need to end the instability and rebuild the country.

He said the country has turned into a laughing stock due to the instability, hence calling upon all groups to be united and end their differences.

Pac’s interventions came after former president Bakili Muluzi met with members of the civil society organisations and Mutharika as part of efforts to end the political impasse that has been in the country since the polls.

Since Mec declared Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party winner of tMay 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 results.

Since June, HRDC has been organising nationwide protests demanding the resignation of Ansah for allegedly running a fraudulent election

The mediation initiatives follow 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.

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