By Duncan Mlanjira
The Youth Wing of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), commonly known as Cadets, is on an awareness drive in Lilongwe to deter youths in the Capital City and the district as a whole from being used as instruments of violence during the campaign for the fresh presidential election.
Speaking in an interview, the party’s director of the youth in Lilongwe, Dyton Mussa said they have since launched a message of peace campaign targeting his fellow youths.
Mussa recently led a youths parade along the streets of the Capital through Area 36, 22, 23, Kawale, Bwalo la Njobvu and City Centre and finally in Area 18 interchange as a symbol of unity and encouragement for youths to practice clean politics.
He said along the parade route, they were encountering young members of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) as well as those of UTM Party but “we did not engage in any confrontations because they had been hearing [through the public address system] that it is all about peace”.
“We believe in one Malawi, one one nation,” Mussa said. “The peaceful messages we were advocating were reaching to everyone else that we as youths should vote for our conscience, not to engage into confrontations.
He said it will be a huge advantage for the works of President Peter Mutharika’s hands to be speaking on their own for people to vote for him rather than the party members engaging in an unacceptable behaviour.
During the parade, the DPP youths toured various development being undertaken in the Central Region that included USAID school programs at Falls CDSS, Tsabango, Kawale, Chilinde and Area 23-Kamuzu Institute Road.
They ended by converging at the newly-constructed City Centre roads.
All along the motorcade parade, bystanders just peacefully observed their actions and admirably no single confrontation was engaged from the opposing political sides.
Mussa said as a political party they will conform to the signed memorandum of understanding as well as adhere to the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates which their party is a signatory.
In Mzuzu, DPP’s National Governing Council members on Wednesday also asked all political parties in the country to practice violence-free campaign in preparation for the July 2, fresh presidential election.
Speaking in Mzuzu during an interactive meeting with the party’s districts and constituencies officials drawn from the Northern Region, DPP’s secretary general, Greselder Jeffrey said urged the party’s supporters to desist from any form of violence and focus on telling people what the party intends to do to develop the region.
“This is time for us to start selling to people our development agenda rather than wasting time in propagating political violence or hate speeches.
“People will vote for us if we address development issues which they face in their localities,” Jeffrey said.
She then asked opposition political parties to emulate the gesture set by the governing party to also urge their supporters to stick to issue-based campaign.
Notable dignitaries present at the meeting included DPP Vice-president for the North, Goodall Gondwe; DPP treasurer general, Jappie Mhango; DPP Regional Governor for the North, Christopher Mzomera Ngwira; top party member Leston Mulli and former regional governor for the North, Kenneth Sanga.
At the launch of the campaign period on May 2, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Justic Jane Ansah SC, had alluded that one area of serious concern in election campaigns is the manner in which political parties and candidates have at times abused the youths of this country.
She had said: “We have seen politicians sponsoring the youths to indulge in violence, disrupt political rallies and doing other unpalatable things.
“This is unacceptable and must be arrested forthwith. The youths have a noble role to play in the country as leaders and must never be abused.
“They should be given positions and not sent on disruptive errands for opponents’ meetings.”
Ansah also had reminded all candidates and political parties to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates they signed for.
She reminded them that all Malawians are looking forward to an issue- based campaign in their manifestos and not focus on castigations and hate speech, which at times is lacking.
“…The era for taking the campaign period as an opportunity or instrument to harass, humiliate, demonise, defame, intimidate and repress political opposition is over.
“If a candidate or political party is associated with this, they should be cautious because it has tendency to rebound.
“Parties and candidates have the responsibility to seriously address real issues, elaborate their manifesto, so that voters should judge them based on their ideas and on how they would resolve problems facing our nation today.
“The obvious lack of issue-based campaigns among our politicians, is a source of serious concern. Malawians are looking forward to campaigns that will transform their lives and livelihood.
“They want to see campaigns that will consolidate and strengthen our democracy beyond individualism, ethnicity and regionalism,” she had said, adding that a sound manifesto should articulate achievable programmes that will enhance the development of the country and improve people’s well-being.