The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has noted with deep concern the ugly scenes that characterised events that happened before, during and after the demonstrations that were organised recently in the city of Blantyre by the former Director of Youth for the UTM Party, Mr. Bon Kalindo.
CDEDI and, indeed, many peace-loving Malawians could not believe that in this day and era some politicians would unleash terror on unsuspecting citizens who are exercising their constitutional right to hold peaceful demonstrations in order to express their dissatisfaction with the way the country is being governed, and to hold public officers accountable.
Even more disturbing is the deafening silence on the part of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), whose constitutional mandate is to ensure the safety of lives and property of all Malawians.
This, alone, is more revealing as to who actually sanctioned the bloodshed in the city of Blantyre on Thursday, 18th November 2021.Malawians’ memories are still fresh, and they are able to recall what the immediate-past Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime was infamously known for—use of thugs to terrorise innocent and unarmed citizens that were perceived to be advancing dissenting views against them. Today, DPP is out of government!President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration should be reminded that they promised to do things differently.
Among many promises, they promised to empower Malawian youths to meaningfully participate in the social and economic development of the country; but what is happening now is contrary to this sugar-coated promise. Similarly, the Inspector General (IG) of Police Dr. George Kainja promised to bring back the lost trust in the police by, also, doing things differently.
However, the ugly scenes in Blantyre have brought back bad memories of criminals who were licensed to beat up and hack others in full view of the police.It is, therefore, very disheartening to note that more than five days after the uncalled-for acts of violence, there has not been any public statement from the police about the events in Blantyre.
Neither has the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity uttered any word to denounce the violence targeted at those that had planned a peaceful demonstration. This, to us, is clear evidence that such barbaric acts were orchestrated and sponsored by none other than agents of the government of the day, notably the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
It is also surprising to note that the thugs flooded the streets of Blantyre before the day of the peaceful demonstrations, and started issuing threats at Mr. Kalindo. They did not even, as required by the law, notify Blantyre City Council about their ill-conceived counter-demonstrations.
But they went ahead and caused havoc, and police chose to look the other side. If this is not selective justice, one wonders what it is. As if this was not enough, social media platforms are awash with video clips of self-acclaimed militia from Msundwe in Lilongwe, who are threatening to deal with Mr. Kalindo if he goes to the capital city with similar demonstrators.
Then there is another clip of an equally misguided youth hitting back at the Msundwe thugs. As expected, police have remained mum on such threats, and yet these thugs are visibly seen in the video clips, and can easily be identified. We expect the police to deal with the thugs in the video clips equally but, of course, we will not be surprised to see the Msundwe militia going scot-free.
While CDEDI is condemning such acts of violence in strongest terms, it is challenging the youth in the country not to be used to perpetrate violence, rather they should strive to be agents of change to the Malawi we all want.It is against this background that CDEDI is calling upon President Chakwera to publicly condemn the barbaric acts in Blantyre, and distance his party from them.
On the other hand, CDEDI is challenging the IG to explain to Malawians why MPS has remained mum on the incidences, and it has failed to act on them despite having clear leads in the form of the video clips that have gone viral on social media. Last but not the least, CDEDI is reminding all Malawians to be vigilant and stop any attempts by the MCP to bring back the era of terror, fear and death and always be ready to defend the country’s hard-earned democracy.
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