Malawi: Squabbles Mar Peace Signing Event in Karonga's 'Benghazi'

23 September 2020

Efforts to have aspiring candidates for the Karonga Central Constituency sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on implementation of peaceful electoral calendar hit a snag on Monday when the UTM Party candidate Frank Mwenifumbo asked the organisers of the event, Karonga District Peace Committee (DPC) to go back to the drawing board and set remedies for those found using provocative language to incite violence during campaign rallies.

To justify his excuse, Mwenifumbo alleged that some Tonse Alliance partners from his former party Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) have been using provocative vocabulary at political campaign rallies to castigate, ridicule and accuse him of bewitching the former legislature Cornelius Mwalwanda who died few months ago of Covid-19.

He went on to suggest that the signing ceremony be suspended and allow DPC to resolve his concerns through the Tonse Alliance politburo, a thing that did not go down well with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) aspiring candidate Leonard Mwalwanda who said political issues for the area can be better be addressed by people on the ground and not the party hierarchy.

In an interview, Mwenifumbo said since the opening of the official campaign period, AFORD new catch Green Lulilo Mwamondwe has been telling voters not to elect him (Mwenifumbo) for allegedly killing Mwalwanda.

He said: "This campaign should be done without the involvement of AFORD members who have deliberately switched political party boat from DPP to fight my candidature. I have persevered enough and this time around my patience has waned.

"Let AFORD be out of this otherwise these are the same people who insulted President Lazarus Chakwera and his vice Saulos Chilima during campaign in the Fresh Presidential Polls".

However, in a separate interview, his contender for the seat, Mwalwanda said he too has been castigated by the UTM Party Lupembe Ward Councillor Vincent Kayuni during political party rallies but has chosen to pay a deaf ear and focus on issue based campaign.

"I have always said that peace is never expensive and peace should be voluntary. We were all born peaceful but the problem is political leaders who when they castigate their competitors, supporters will also emulate that. I have been castigated myself but I have never hit back during campaign and will continue with my strategy of issue based campaign," Mwalwanda said.

However, in an interview with Mwamondwe, he described Mwenifumbo's claims as lame political excuses, saying he is practicing immature politics, adding "I have video clips to support my case, I have always attributed the late Cornelius Mwalwanda's death to Covid 19.

While Councillor Kayuni said he was in a meeting and could not pick subsquent calls.

Karonga DPC chairperson Reverend Patricia Mzumara said it was a missed opportunity since it coincided with World Peace Day.

She has since said they will go back to the drawing board to rectify the problems noted in the MoU as soon as possible for the sake of peace in the volatile constituency that in 2009 elections earned itself a Lybian warzone name of Benghazi.

Justice and Peace of Karonga Diocese project coordinator Vincent Bwinga whose organisation facilitated the meeting appealed for calmduring the period the DPC will be amending the MoU.

The meeting drew together Pastors Fraternal, DPC, civil society organisations (CSOs), traditional leaders, the police and political party leaders.

More From: Nyasa Times

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