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United States of America supports mediation talks

IN SUPPORT OF DIALOGUE —Scott

The United States of America (USA) has said it is in support of mediation talks being facilitated by various electoral stakeholders as a way of resolving the current political impasse in the country.

US Ambassador to Malawi Robert Scott made the remarks Tuesday in Blantyre in an exclusive interview with Malawi News after presenting his letters of credence to President Peter Mutharika at Sanjika Palace in the district.

The remarks come at a time when Public Affairs Committee and former president Bakili Muluzi engaged Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Mutharika in a bid to find a solution to the ongoing political tension.

Scott said Malawi and its citizens have a history of peaceful dialogue and that political engagement has to continue.

“All leaders, whether they are religious, political parties, institutions and the administration, need to step forward and engage in dialogue and that is something that we would support. Again, I haven’t been here that long but I have seen that the Public Affairs Committee and others are stepping forward and I think every effort like that is important to try to bridge gaps, to try to bring people together,” he said.

He said the solutions will be found in constitutional ways and there is need for adherence to the Constitution.

“People have the right to protest but it needs to be peaceful. So, the organisers of the protests need to come together with the security forces to ensure that these protests are able to proceed in a peaceful way. Damage to private property is so devastating for small business owners, anyone who has had that happen to them knows that it is devastating and nobody wants to see that happen,” he said.

Since Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) declared Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party winner of May 21 Tripartite Elections, tension has been hovering around the country, with some quarters disputing results of the elections.

Mec announced that Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes, representing 38.57 percent of votes cast, while Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) Lazarus Chakwera got 1,781,740 votes, representing 35.41 percent.

Former vice-president Saulos Chilima of UTM came third after getting 1,018,369 votes, translating into 20.24 percent of votes counted.

MCP and UTM are challenging the presidential election results in court, seeking nullification of the results.

Meanwhile, since last month, HRDC has been organising nationwide protests demanding the resignation of Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah for allegedly running a fraudulent election.

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