Two of Malawi’s major development partners, the United States of America and the United Kingdom have urged all political parties in the country to respect their opponents ahead of forthcoming October 17 by-elections and 2019 tripartite elections.
The statement has been released a week after Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera, wrote the country’s development partners, requesting their immediate intervention over threats Lawrence Sitolo, their candidate in Nsanje by-elections, is receiving from senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials.
In a brief joint statement released on Tuesday, US Ambassador, Virginia Palmer, and UK High Commissioner, Holly Tett, said Malawi should maintain its reputation in democracy.
“Malawi’s democratic record is a model for Africa and beyond. As Malawi’s development partners, we support Malawi’s preparations for another round of democratic elections (by-elections and general elections in 2019), a core component of which are free and fair campaigns. We urge all parties to respect the rights of their opponents to stand for election and campaign freely,” reads the statement.
On October 17, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) will, apart from Nsanje Lalanje Constituency, hold by-elections in Lilongwe City South East and Lilongwe Msozi North constituencies.
Other by-elections will be held in Mayani North Ward in Dedza, Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre.
In last week’s communication, Chakwera asked the diplomatic community to help in investigating threats to Sitolo and ask President Peter Mutharika to stop what the DPP officials were doing.
In the letter, Chakwera said the DPP members asked Sitolo to either receive K100 million and defect from MCP to become an independent candidate or resign and accept a diplomatic posting to unnamed duty station and K50 million on top.
However, Minister of Information and Communications, Nicholas Dausi, and Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson, Francis Kasaila, later dismissed MCP’s claims.
They argued that if there are any complaints on the issue, they should be channelled to relevant institutions in the country, some of which are Mec, police and the Anti-Corruption Bureau .
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