The Malawi Government has blamed Nkhata Bay fracas on political and civil society leaders who introduced violence to replace dialogue as a mechanism for resolving conflicts.
Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani made the remarks in a statement on Wednesday, hours after fights between two villages in Nkhata Bay on Tuesday led to the death of four people and arson attacks on 21 houses.
Botomani in the statement said Malawi has always been a peaceful country until some people – whose names he did not mention – introduced violence.
“It is the considered view of Government that the barbarism that resulted into these despicable events is steadily being fomented by seeds of violence that are getting planted by those who believe that differences should be resolved through bloodshed and destruction,” he said.
The minister added that the violence is a wake-up call to leaders who believe in the use violence as a way of resolving problems that their actions are slowly indoctrinating communities especially young people.
“Teaching people to hate others is irresponsible. It is a seed that once it germinates and grows fully will come back to haunt everyone including those who are thoughtlessly distributing it,” he said.
In the statement, Botomani also condemned the violence in Nkhata Bay saying the misunderstandings could have been resolved amicably through restraint and dialogue.
He noted that Malawi is a democracy where everyone should be free to differ without fear of being killed or attacked.
The minister then appealed to everyone, including political leaders and civil society organisations, to preach peace and encourage Malawians to reason together whenever they have differences.
He said: “At no time should life and property be sacrificed to resolve them. Let us all love each other and protect this country. This is the only country we have as our home. We should not destroy it.”