Facing serious violence reparations and increasing unpopularity, Malawi Congress Party has made a swift turn on its policy on inciting violence and perpetrating political terrorism.
MCP is now pleading with its followers to stop the violence after causing massive damage that has shocked many Malawians and the international community alike.
On Saturday, MCP President Lazarus Chakwera visited his constituency and told his people to stop violence. Chakwera’s constituency has been the worst violent. Scores of teams have been coming from Kasiya, Malembo (Chakwera’s home) and as far as Santhe terrorizing surrounding areas including demolishing their own community schools and intimidating chiefs.
In a video circulating on social media, MCP Youth Director Richard Chimwendo Banda is also seen visiting MCP communities and urging them to stop violence. But Chimwendo himself was the first after Chakwera to publicly incite violence and mobilize youths to unleash the terror.
In the clip he admits that even their own members have been victims of the terror.
“Ine dzulo wina wandiimbira phone kudandaula kuti a Chimwendo ine ndalakwa chani? Ine wanu wanu weni weni koma dzulo ndazunzika kwambiri, galimoto yanga andiphwanyira. Tsopano ine ndalakwa chani?” (I am an MCP member but you have broken my car. What wrong have I done?) Chimwendo reports to a group of MCP supporters.
Chimwendo’s report shows that the Party has been waging senseless violence that has hurt and affected many innocent Malawians including MCP members and chiefs.
Chimwendo tells people in the video clip to stop violent demonstrations because their case is in court.
“How can we win the case if we continue this violence?” He asks as he addresses MCP members.
However, there are more serious reasons that have forced MCP to change tune on violence – other than that its own members are suffering and complaining.
The party faces a multi-billion kwacha lawsuit for violence reparations from those affected by MCP violence in a joint conspiracy with UTM and Human Rights Defenders Coalition.
The Police Act provides that organizers, conveners or participants in a demonstration that end up in injuries to people and damage and loss of property will be held liable for reparations. Assessments on the damage are currently underway.
The lawsuit for reparations will find MCP already drained after they have spent huge sums of money on campaign, hiring lawyers for their elections case and sponsoring violence since the elections on May 21.
The damage is the worst in the history of elections in Malawi. Among the victims are banks such as FDH Bank, NBS Bank, Standard Bank, Nedbank and First Capital Bank whose property has been damaged by the protestors. Each of these banks is also preparing to sue.
Mzuzu and Karonga have suffered the worst damage of public property. It includes the breaking of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) offices torching Mzuzu Agriculture Development Division (ADD) offices, Department of Parks and Wildlife offices and the Treasury Cashier’s regional office and Karonga District Commissioner’s Office.
Scores of people have also been maimed and injured and may sue for their life threatening injuries.
Another reason for MCP to start preaching peace is that party is under severe pressure from the International Community for adopting violence as a means to settlement of electoral disputes while it has a case in court on the same. Some people in the donor community are now talking about dragging Chakwera, Chilima and the so called Human Rights Defenders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if they continue with their violence and political terrorism.
Several of Malawi’s development partners have specifically written Lazarus Chakwera warning him on his violent approach as a reaction to his loss in an election they certified as peaceful, free, fair and credible.
Some of the damage MCP has perpetrated has been unleashed on property of international bodies such as the USAID, a development agency of the United States Government. Protestors broke into USAID’s premises in Lilongwe and damaged its top of the range utility vehicle in the parking lot.
MCP is also facing the wrath of the International community for dragging the UNDP in its electoral dispute. UNDP supported MEC in hiring an audit firm, BDO, to provide audit services for the results to ensure the elections are transparent.
However, MCP strategists have smeared the audit firm in social media posts that it helped rigging the election and that it has a criminal record related to auditing services in the US. They have also attacked UNDP and MEC that they hired the firm fraudulently.
Meantime, the US Government has told the world that Malawi’s Elections were “successful” and that America will work with the current Malawi Government.
In a message sent on Malawi’s Independence Day, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hints that the US recognizes Professor Peter Mutharika’s government as legitimate because the Election was “successfully” conducted. The US government says they will work with the current government.
Malawi Congress Party is forced to stop violence after overwhelming international and local pressure. President Mutharika has always insisted on peace and restrained his supporters from revenging despite suffering some of the worst violence. Mutharika is now vindicated as a peaceful democrat.