Africa-Press – Malawi. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have recommended the prosecution of perpetrators of violence that characterized the 10 November parliamentary by-elections especially in Karonga Central and Lilongwe North West Constituencies.
CCJP and PAC have since challenged the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the Malawi Police Service to rise to occasion by facilitating the arrest and prosecution of the suspects.
This is contained in a situation report, which outlines findings of the consortium on the conduct of the by-elections on November 10, 2020.
MEC conducted parliamentary by-elections in Karonga Central and Lilongwe North West Constituencies where Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidates emerged winners while in Makhwira Ward in Chikwawa, the United Democratic Front (UDF) contestant triumphed over his contenders.
The CCJP and PAC consortium had deployed 73 Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) observers, 30 roving observers and four long-term observers to observe election day activities in both constituencies.
And the consortium says the reports from those observers have formed the basis of its findings on the conduct of the by-elections.
CCJP National Coordinator, Boniface Chibwana, called upon MEC to investigate all the breeches of the electoral code of conduct, which occurred during the pre-election and on the election day.
“The issues of violence between party candidates’ supporters and even the harassment of an electoral official, as reported, should be condemned and the perpetrators brought to book. CCJP and PAC are concerned about the multiple incidents of politically motivated violence reported by its observers both during the campaign period and on the election day.
“Fear of violence discourages citizens from participating in political and electoral processes as it is their political right. CCJP and PAC calls on the Malawi Police to swiftly investigate any instances of politically motivated violence and to bring the perpetrators to book,” reads the statement reads in part.
According to the findings, there were incidents of violence on the polling day at Chiwondo and Mwenilondo polling stations in Karonga Central constituency–where there was tension between party supporters of UTM party and MCP.
The findings also say there was violence at Lupembe in the same constituency–arising from misunderstandings between Citizens for Transportation (CFT) supporters and UTM party supporters, leading to the beating of one UTM supporter.
On the other hand, the consortium findings say there was only one incident of harassment and intimidation at Chifuka Primary School in Lilongwe North West constituency–where an MCP governor used intimidating language towards a polling officer.
PAC Publicity Secretary, Bishop Gilford Matonga, said this violence must be condemned by political parties top most leaders.
“Leaders of political parties must speak to thier supporters on the need not to indulge in violence. Leaders must talk about unity and enforce it themselves,” he said.
Matonga said President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima, who are already working together well, must come out in the open and condemn violence at all levels of their party structures.