Reign of terror is back, take cover!
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadets are now back in town and I can see people’s worries all over their faces.
The cadets started intimidating Lilongwe City Deputy Mayor, Juliana Kaduya, and Mzuzu City Member of Parliament, Leonard Njikho, over the results of mayoral elections in the two cities respectively which favoured the opposition. But on Sunday, the DPP cadets showed and reminded us their real face when they beat up opposition, especially Malawi Congress Party (MCP) followers, stripped off their party clothes and blocked some women from attending the John Chilembwe commemoration prayers at Providence Industrial Mission (PIM).
This was in full view of police officers. One of the persons assaulted was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital for treatment because he sustained serious injuries. This is very scary as it is sad. The only crime the opposition members did was to wear their party regalia in honour of their President Lazarus Chakwera who attended the national prayers alongside President Peter Mutharika and other political leaders.
The DPP cadets, who themselves wore their party colours, were obviously sent by some senior party officials to harass and assault the opposition members. This is scary because we know what DPP can do when it comes to political violence, abductions, petrol bombing and killing those deemed critical of the government and Mutharika.
Memories are still fresh of how the DPP operatives with the help of police killed Robert Chasowa, a student at the The Polytechnic, right at college campus in Blantyre. We are reminded how they petrol-bombed the vehicle of Jessie Kabwila, the outspoken MCP publicist and just this week, how Charles Kajoloweka, the civil society activist, and lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa received death threats for obtaining a court injunction restraining suspended Agriculture Minister, George Chaponda, from working until a Maizegate probe is over. The list is endless.
This is in sharp contrast to the political atmosphere during the reign of Joyce Banda. During such events as the Chilembwe Day, women from different political parties, the DPP, MCP, People’s Party and United Democratic Front (UDF) danced side by side, sang together, celebrated together and shared sorrows together. This is how things work in a democracy.
First, we are all Malawians and other things including belonging to political parties comes second. Some people risked their lives and others were even killed for us to have this democracy. It is very disturbing and disgusting that the beatings and assault of the MCP members happened in full view of police officers who went to PIM to provide security to the people who attended the function. The explanation by the government spokesperson that MCP officials were distributing party clothes and other party materials and that DPP confiscated panga knives and other weapons is lacking, a blue lie and face-saver. Imagining this is true; why did DPP not report the matter to the police who were there instead of taking the law into the party’s blue hands?
A free advice to DPP is that people are watching and following this with keen interest. Harassment and intimidation is not the way out to silence critics and the opposition in democratic Malawi. Malawians will never succumb to this silly and archaic political tactic which made UDF infamous when people were beaten up right away at police stations in full view of police by young democrats.
We all know that DPP was born out of UDF through crookedness and deceit. For those who do not understand my point, here is a bit of history. Former president Bakili Muluzi hand-picked Bingu wa Mutharika as the presidential candidate for UDF. This was after Parliament rejected Muluzi’s bid for a third term. Soon after Bingu was elected president in 2004, he quit the party that sponsored him into power and formed his own DPP, accusing UDF officials of high-level corruption among other issues.
Mutharika died in 2012. Muluzi is still answering the 2005 graft charges and Parliament is investigating reports that Bingu amassed wealth amounting to K61 billion stashed in overseas accounts. Well, I thought of going astray a little with the history to give you a small glimpse of how DPP and its leadership came to power.
DPP should flex its muscles and full potential to deal with the current economic crisis which has pushed the cost of living up, beyond reach of most ordinary Malawians, pushing poverty to new high levels and placing Malawi to the second poorest country after war-torn South Sudan instead of inciting political violence. DPP should get all the uneducated, violent cadets into community colleges instead of teaching them violence.
DPP has to spend its energy thinking how to open public universities which were closed many months ago. Health and education sectors are among many areas DPP and its leadership need to bring its attention to instead of going after the opposition and the media. As I stated last week, Malawi is an envy of many when it comes to democracy because it has a vibrant judiciary and a vibrant legislature. In addition, it has a vibrant opposition, a vibrant media and a vibrant civil society organisations (CSOs) network. Anyone or any political party wishing or attempting to weaken these democratic pillars is not democratic and progressive. That person lacks patriotism, integrity and hard work.
Together, we can rebuild Malawi. It is a fact that Babylon has fallen but together, we can we can rebuild it. The DPP should take its political spectacles out and deal with corruption and abuse of funds in government.
We hear of Lilongwe Water Board being forced to donate K10 million to DPP coffers and the same water board donating K4 million to National Intelligence Bureau. We hear DPP has been getting money from Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi and other parastatals for party issues. That is not the way things work in a democracy. Ordering Macra or Malawi Revenue Authority to go after private media deemed critical of the government is not democratic rather it is unprogressive. Together, the government, the ruling party, the opposition, the media, the CSOs, the judiciary and the legislature can make Malawi great again
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