The European diplomacy reiterated its call for restraint to political actors in Malawi.
“It is especially important at this time that all political actors should stand united in the defence of human rights and Rule of Law, and against any acts of violence, incitement or hate speech” the EU spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs said, quoting a statement of the EU Mission in Malawi.
On May 6, being “shocked” and “saddened” by acts of violence the EU Mission in Malawi together with Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States reacted upon the lamentable episodes, fuelled by political motives, hoping that those responsable would be brought to justice, following the transparent investigations in the frame of the Malawi law.
However the EU has no plans to send the observers for the possible presidential elections postponed to July 2. In general the European External Action Service (EEAS) has to re-asses the deployment of the Observation missions, but “in this case Malawi is not a part of the EU observation mission priority for 2020, the EU will not send the Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the re-run of the Presidential elections in Malawi” the spokesperson said commenting on the issue. She reminded that at present the issue of re-running of the presidential elections on the July 2 is examined by the Supreme court in the capital city Lilongwe, and the decision of the judges will “determine if the Presidential election will be or not repeated in July“, she added.
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had declared President Peter Mutharika the narrow winner of the May election with 38% of votes, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and former Vice President Saulos Chilima third with 20%, while four other candidates collectively received of 6% of ballots.
Since the announcement of the election results almost a year ago, Malawi has experienced a wave of protests across the country demanding the resignation of Jane Ansah, the chairwoman of the MEC for allegedly mismanaging the elections. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) defended its managment of the process, being within the legal framework.
Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, The European Union, Norway, German, Ireland and the United States of America in Malawi released a joint statement on May 6.
They expressed concern over the violence which they said was fueled by political motives and led to injuries.
The development partners called on political actors in Malawi to stand united in the defence of human rights and rule of rule, and against acts of violence, incitement of violence or hate speech.
“We support those calling for restraint and hope that all cases of violence are investigated comprehensively and transparently in line with the laws of Malawi, so that those responsible can be brought to justice,” reads part of the statement.
Recently, there have been acts of violence against UTM members in the Southern Regions. On Monday night (May 4), a UTM office in Lilongwe was also torched by unknown assailants and eight people sustained burns.
The violence is happening as parties are campaigning ahead of the 2020 fresh presidential elections.
Supporters of Malawi’s opposition took to the streets of Blantyre on May 6 as their presidential candidate presented nomination papers for the July re-run of last year’s election. The outcome initially returned President Peter Mutharika to office, but the result was historically overturned in a landmark court ruling in February.
Malawi’s vice-president Saulos Chilima launched his own political party to run against the government in elections next year, persisting in his public criticism on President Peter Mutharika’s cabinet.
Chilima, 45, was handpicked Mutharika to run alongside him in 2014 on the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) ticket.
But Chilima quit the DPP last month citing corruption and nepotism.
Following mounting calls for him to run in the May 2019 vote, he launched the United Transformation Movement (UTM) in the capital Lilongwe, seeking to unseat the 79-year-old Mutharika.
“It is because of the rot that we are seeing all over that we are launching UTM,” Chilima said.
“We should not allow people to continue treating us like fools. Everyone should have a bright future regardless of where they come from or the political party they support.”
The ruling party has been plagued by calls from civil action groups for its leader to resign after a leaked report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau accused Mutharika of receiving a $195,000 (167,000 euros) kickback from a contract to supply food to the police.