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UTM, HRDC snub PAC over dialogue initiatives with Mutharika

Written by  MBC Online

UTM leader Saulos Chili and rights group HRDC have snubbed peace efforts and dialogue initiated by peace negotiators the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) meant to diffuse political impasse created by the May 21 vote.

PAC and MCP leaders after meeting in Lilongwe. PAC and MCP leaders after meeting in Lilongwe.

The snub comes after after  Opposition MCP  leader Lazarus Chakwera had agreed to dialogue with his political foe President Arthur Peter Mutharika, after he emerged from a closed door meeting with PAC.


PAC have initiated talks between contesting political parties after the May 21 vote plunged Malawi into an impasse and petitions by the opposition seeking to nullify the presidential vote.


Chakwera , who lost to Mutharika by 159,000 votes, said he was ready to meet the DPP leader, on a date to be arranged by PAC. Chilima trailed third.


He said he was ready for the outcome of the constitutional court, which has since August 8 been hearing his and that of UTM leader’s petitions to nullify the vote.


The MCP leader said all must respect the Judiciary and the determination of the court led by Justice Healy Potani.


He said he stands for the rule of law and was against anarchy.


But PAC, led by Blantyre Archbishop Thomas Msusa, met HRDC and UTM leaders who rejected peaceful overtures saying they can only talk to Mutharika if MEC Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and commissioners resigned from their  positions.


The Opposition have petitioned the court to annul the presidential result claiming that MEC rigged the vote in favour of Mutharika.


UTM spokesman Joseph Chidanti Malunga told journalists yesterday they can only meet Mutharika after the court case and an agenda set. On the other hand, HRDC maintained their stand that they can only go to the negotiating table after Ansah and the commissioners quit their jobs


HRDC leaders have also maintained  that they wont stop demos, a condition set by Mutharika because of the violent nature the demos had taken, arguing that it was their constitutional right to demonstrate.


Ansah has vehemently refused to resign, saying she can only do so until the constitutional court which has been hearing the petitions since August 8, makes its determination, expected early next year.


PAC spokesman Bishop Gilford Matonga also told journalists that his team will continue to engage every stakeholder to achieve their aims of ending the impasse.


Violent demos, looting and torching of private and public property and the mob killing of a senior  police officer, have characterised demos spearheaded by HRDC and hugely disturbed the peace and social order once enjoyed by Malawians.


“Our desire is that they be able to meet as soon as soon as possible before the judges bring their followers must be prepared for the court results .We do not want to see another stream of violence following  the judgment,” Matonga earlier said. 


“Our desire is for them to meet before the ruling, so that we clear those issues as soon as possible. The special occasion is the prayers we have organized and it will be good for them to shake hands and pray together.”


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