AFRICA/MALAWI - "No to political violence": religious leaders condemn the massacre in Lilongwe

Monday, 18 May 2020 elections   violence   dialogue  

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "Every human life is sacred", said the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a mother body of all religions in Malawi in a statement, after an alleged report on petrol bombing of a family in Lilongwe which claimed lives while some victims were terribly burnt.
The family resided in the premises used by the United Transformation Movement (UTM) party, which was the target of the attack. The UTM is the party of Vice President Saulos Chilima, who broke the alliance with President Peter Mutharika.
"The incident is condemnable in strongest terms as it violates human rights and aims at intimidating the democratic contestation of ideas and at silencing alternative voices", the PAC lamented in their statement signed by the chairperson Mgr. Dr. Patrick Thawale, Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lilongwe and Publicity Secretary Bishop Dr. Gilford Emmanuel Matonga from the Evangelical Association.
The PAC members cautioned that the "barbaric, cowardly and uncivilized acts of violence manifest a sense of desperation as Malawi moves towards the fresh Presidential Election".
For this reason, religious leaders have called for investigations of the culprits saying, "PAC wishes to add its voice to calls for prompt and impartial investigations on acts of political violence so that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions without discrimination", reads the statement of the body formed in 1992 during the Country’s political transition from one party to multiparty system of government.
"PAC calls for an open and inclusive dialogue in dealing withpolitical disputes – a mechanism that has full support of all peace-loving Malawians. We also call on all citizens to remain law-abiding and eschew all forms of political violence".
Political violence is on the rise in view of the vote on May 19, convened after the Constitutional Court canceled those held last May. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/5/2020)