posted Sunday, May 25, 2014
CHRR CONDEMN THE RECENT LILONGWE VIOLENCE; APPEALS FOR CALM AND PEACE DURING AND AFTER THE ELECTION
We, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation condemn in the strongest terms the indiscriminate violence and harassment that recently occurred in Lilongwe resulting in the resignation of the district commissioner and chief executive officer of Lilongwe city as election coordinators citing the verbal and psychological harassment they suffered at the hands of these political parties’ fanatics.
We at CHRR strongly believe that such acts must be condemned by all as they have no room in the current democratic dispensation. We call on authorities to conduct thorough, prompt and fully independent investigations into this act. Anyone found responsible for or behind the aforementioned acts must be brought to justice without delay. The sooner the perpetrators of these ugly scenes are brought to justice the better.
While commending all the political parties for issuing a joint statement facilitated by Centre for Multi-party democracy, we at CHRR further calls upon each political party to take an extra step of separately taking specific measures to condemn the act and public appealing to their respective constituents to refrain from violence and any act which can put the electoral process in disarray. We at CHRR are yet to see strong political will from our political parties to condemn these recent violence
In the same vein, we at CHRR would like to reiterate that all those who have credible evidence of rigging or any other grievances should follow the existing relevant legally instituted systems in order for such to be addressed rather than propagating unsubstantiated claims- as was the case in the Lilongwe saga where unlike the earlier alleged claims it is now clear that there were no such pre-marked ballot papers as falsely alleged by the perpetrators- which have the potential to instill suspicion, fear and doubt over the credibility of the electoral process and Malawi Electoral Commission. Election time is a very sensitive and volatile time and therefore there is need for every stakeholder to exercise utmost professionalism, discipline, integrity and tolerance throughout the process. This is why we at CHRR also advise all media institutions, as key stakeholders in the electoral process, to also maintain their adherence to MEC’s electoral code of conduct and most importantly their media ethics by refraining from reporting unsubstantiated news, news which have the potential of reducing the country to political disorder.
Lastly, we at CHRR and CEDEP appeal to all political parties to desist from all manner of political violence and embrace tolerance, love, patriotism, justice, rationality as well as championing . Let’s remember we are one people, one nation and one Malawi. Whoever emerges victorious as President shall not only be the President of the political party on whose ticket he or she was standing but most importantly the President of all Malawians. We wish all Malawians a peaceful voting day and prosperous post-may 20 2014. Remember there is life after 20 May.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation
Issued on 20th May 2014 in Lilongwe/Malawi