Electoral stakeholders intensify efforts to ensure peace during by-elections

Electoral Stakeholders in Chikwawa have intensified efforts to ensure that  no incidence of violence is registered during Tuesday’s by-elections and after the polls.

This follows reports of some incidence of violence already registered in other districts of Nsanje and Karonga where the by-elections are also scheduled to take place.

In Nsanje, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Supporters have been reportedly involved in some fracas with their Malawi Congress Party (MCP) counterparts.

On Saturday before the official close of campaigning period, DPP and MCP supporters were sported along the Tengani area where their candidates were having final campaign rallies.

Some DPP followers later during the day were involved in an accident when the car they were ferried in on their way to a campaign rally overturned.

However, speaking during an interview, Diocesan Coordinator for Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Chikwawa, Lous Msiyadungu said holding campaign rallies close to each other and at the same time could be a recipe for violence.

He said his organisation has therefore intensified efforts to engage all electoral stakeholders in the district on the need to refrain from any form of provocation that may lead to violence particularly on the voting day and thereafter during announcement of results.

During a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting held on Friday at Bodza Teachers Development Center (TDC) in Chikwawa East   Constituency, it was also disclosed that political parties in the district have been holding their campaign meetings close   to each other which authorities complained could have been a recipe for violence.

“Unlike in other districts, there has been generally a peaceful political environment hear in Chikwawa. We therefore want to safe guard this atmosphere by engaging all electoral stake holders on the need for them to uphold peace throughout the electoral period.

“We intend to continue engaging all the electoral stakeholders even beyond the announcement of results. That way we shall be able to ensure that political parties continue to peacefully   co-exist after the elections,” said Msiyadungu.

Chikwawa Police Station Officer MacDonald Khalira in a separate interview also shared Msiyadungu’s sentiments saying no single case of political violence has been registered in Chikwawa reaching this far.

He, however, complained that despite political parties in the district being mandated to inform all relevant authorities including the police before conducting their campaign rallies, most of them were not doing so.

Meanwhile, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) public Trust Civic Education Officer for Chikwawa Joseph Chamamambala has appealed to political parties in the district to accept the outcome of the by-elections as one way of ensuring peace during the post-election period.

About five candidates are competing for Chikwawa East constituency with stiff competition lying between immediate past MP for the area Rodrick Khumbanyiwa of UDF and DPPs Ginford Maulidi.