Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) runningmate Atupele Muluzi has been advised against using Islam for political gain.
Journalist Malick Mnela has told Muluzi that throwing the Islam card to leverage his political position is ineffective in earning him political mileage.
Muluzi has been conducting whistle stop rallies ahead of the 2020 presidential elections and at one such rally on Tuesday he spoke about the murder of a policeman in Lilongwe.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am a Muslim. Some ten months ago, some group of people descended on a police officer Sergeant Imedi. They shouted you are a Muslim from Mangochi and lynched him to death. Would you trust leaders championing this to take over government?,” said Muluzi in Chiradzulu.
Mnela in a social media post condemned Muluzi for using the death of Imedi to incite rage and hatred against the opposing politicians.
He added that the “Islamic puritanism” approach Muluzi has chosen in his political outbursts also pits Muslim against Muslim.
“This strategy can incite Muslims in two ways. Firstly, it has potential to ignorantly prompt religious-political violence, between Muslims and among Malawians of diverse beliefs.
“Secondly, Muluzi’s political rhetoric anchored on the pro-Islamic narrative could prompt some of the Muslim faithful to do a quick inquiry into the past politically incited deaths, beatings and ostracisation, resulting in taking dirty linen to the public.
“If Muluzi’s message is (intentionally or mistakenly) understood as an alert for retribution, some “jihadist” elements could emerge against those alleged or perceived to have sponsored the attacks that led to the death of their fellow Muslim,” said Mnela.
He also wondered why Muluzi did not mention other Muslims whose murders were linked to politics.
Mnela mentioned former Anti-Corruption Bureau employee Issa Njauju, person with Albinism MacDonald Masambuka, former presidential advisor in the Bakili Muluzi administration Kalonga Stambuli, and three members of the Tambala family who died recently after a petrol bomb attack.
“It is in the grapevine that he (Stambuli) died on matters bordering on politics, like Imedi and Njauju. Just that Mr. Muluzi could not muster the courage to tell the whole story of Muslims matryed as a result of politics in Malawi,” Mnela said.
He then urged Muluzi to preach unity as he continues on the campaing trail.
He also encouraged Muslims in the country not to allow politicians to sow seeds of division ahead of fresh polls.
Said Mnela: “A politician pursuing a segmented approach just to earn your votes based on demographics cannot unit us as a country after the elections.”