President Peter Mutharika has condemned the violence that damaged two United Transformation Movement (UTM) vehicles on the eve of its Eastern Region launch in Mangochi on Sunday, describing the act as anti-democracy.
The condemnation followed events of Saturday night when two UTM vehicles— a Nissan Hardbody registration NS 7932 and a Toyota Hilux registration NA 4112—were smashed and set ablaze, respectively, while parked at two separate lodges around Mangochi Boma.
In a statement made available to Smash by State House press office, Mutharika learnt “with regret” the violent acts in Mangochi.
“The President condemns the incidents as they go against the spirit of democracy in Malawi,” reads a statement issued by Presidential Press Secretary Mgeme Kalilani.
“As one of Malawians who took part in the drafting of the Constitution which guarantees democratic rights of Malawians today, President Mutharika believes in and advocates for tolerance among Malawians of different political divides.
“The President therefore condemns any acts that infringes on people’s democratic rights and narrow the space for democratic growth in Malawi,” the statement added.
Kalilani said President Mutharika is urging all Malawians to demonstrate that democracy is maturing in Malawi by ensuring peaceful co-existence as the nation heads to the poll.
Mutharika once again made a clarion call for leaders of all political parties to be exemplary in their conduct and shun violence ahead of the Tripartite elections set for May 21 2019.
“The President also urges political parties to restrain their followers from inciting and perpetrating violence. President Mutharika is asking all politicians to take the lead in creating a peaceful environment by ensuring they run issue-based political meetings as this is critical for the building of our nation,” said the statement.
However, President Mutharika said he expects the police to bring its investigation of the Mangochi incident to a logical conclusion and that perpetrators are brought to book.
UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga accused DPP of having a hand in the violence, claiming DPP is desperate to weaken the movement.
But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi laughed off Malunga’s accusation, saying the governing party does not associate itself with violence.
Mangochi and the entire Eastern Region, which also includes Zomba, Machinga and Balaka, have politically been regarded as the stronghold of the former governing United Democratic Front (UDF).
UDF president Atupele Muluzi, who is also Minister of Health, also condemned the violence in Mangochi when he addressed a rally in Lilongwe.