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Ulemu Msungama seeks United Nation support on threats

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Parliamentary candidate for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in by-elections in Lilongwe City South East Constituency, Ulemu Msungama, has said he is living in fear due to police brutality, insults and threats from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

But government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, has said the government has no reason to threaten Msungama.

In a letter of appeal for support that Msungama has written to UN Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo, and to various civil society organisations such as the Public Affairs Committee and Media Institute of Southern Africa Malawi Chapter, Msungama has expressed worry that his democratic right and that of other citizens in the constituency continue to be suppressed by the State.

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He has further observed that he finds it undemocratic denying people of the constituency representation in the National Assembly.

In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) declared DPP candidate Bentley Namasasu the winner of the constituency with 10,954 votes against Msungama who received 10,856 votes.

Msungama filed a petition in the High Court seeking the nullification of the poll for alleged irregularities using Section 100 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act.

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In March this year, the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered that the area should hold a rerun of the parliamentary elections.

But Mec has insisted that it cannot hold elections until August after the 2017/18 National Budget has been passed by Parliament.

In the letter, Msungama says he has lost his financial and moral strengths in the battle which has taken more than enough time to be concluded.

“I have fought for a just outcome of the May 2014 elections to ensure that democracy in Lilongwe City South East, and the country as a whole, is upheld. I have lost my financial, physical and moral strengths in this battle which has taken more than enough time to be concluded, largely, due to the state’s interference on the organs in their execution of democratic functions,” reads the letter.

Msungama also said over the course of the court battles, he has been subjected to numerous insults and has been living in fear for the past two years.

“On February 19, 2016, some MCP members and I were arrested on a case of treason as the State feared we were going to overthrow the government using WhatsApp, a social media messaging platform. I spent a day and night in prison together with other criminals and one full year reporting bail.

“Lately, on April 25, while attending the funeral ceremony of late Abusa Helen Singh, I was verbally abused and was told that ‘we will deal with you, we will stab you’. I was smuggled out of the ceremony by well-wishers before the DPP operatives could lay a hand on me. This is a party that is capable of causing bodily harm and terror to people, this is a well-documented material fact,” further reads the letter.

In an interview Tuesday, Msungama said he wants the UN to know that he is being threatened.

“I want to be assured of my safety and protection because my life is in danger. The UN and other stakeholders should know and act accordingly,” Msungama said.

While Seppo was not available for comment, Dausi poured cold water on Msungama’s allegations.

“The government never and will never intimidate him. For what reason? We cannot intimidate our own citizens. If he has any information, let him go to the police. People are just creating stories to be seen that they are fragile. It is very unfair,” Dausi said.

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