"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sharp Focus -Hate speeches at rallies poisoning mediation efforts

“To me, it doesn’t make sense that Parliament
should be adjourned for fear of poisoning the atmosphere for mediation
talks when the two warring sides continue to castigate each other
outside it during their rallies.” That was Bulawula last Sunday,
commenting on calls from the opposition to adjourn the House to pave
way for mediation talks currently underway. That was on Sunday.

“I am here in Ndirande, right now. What I am seeing and hearing is
testament to what I have just said. This is that political parties are
fanning more flames of hate on each other during their rallies than in
Parliament. It is, therefore, being too simplistic to assume all will
be well with the mediation talks after adjourning Parliament,” he

“What are you seeing and hearing in Ndirande, Mr. Bulawula?” I probed.

“There is a group of about a hundred or so kids, or call them
miscreants, most of them well below 15, most of them in party colours
running up and down the road from the market to Chinseu, chanting
anti-Bingu songs,” he said.

“In one song they are saying,

‘Bola Atcheya omwewo (Refrain)

Moseyu ndi wa mi----. (Refrain)

“I can’t say the last word to you loudly. It is too heavy in the mouth.
In fact, if you make out the word, don’t even dare to put it in print.
Criminal libel is what it is called. If what these kids are doing is
setting the atmosphere for what is to come later in the afternoon when
Atcheya addresses a rally here, then you and I have reason enough to
fear for our beloved country.

“And I can imagine what the other group will be doing or saying when
they also want to hold a rally here. If they are foolish, they will
obviously want to outdo their political opponents on sleaze and
mudslinging. It is these scenes, these remarks that are poisoning the
mediation spirit more than the deliberations in Parliament. So, let
Parliament continue,” he said.

“But Mr. Bulawula, do you remember what you said some three weeks ago on Parliament?” I queried him.

“What did I say?”

“You were among those that were advocating for adjournment because the
opposition were shooting down all government business in the House,” I

“Things change everyday and things have indeed changed in the House. At
that time, the Business Committee had not agreed on any agenda for
Parliament to discuss. But now the clergy are mediating in the talks on
the political impasse and so government business must go on.

“But also, in the name of give-and-take, which is the spirit everyone
must embrace in and outside the mediation talks, even if nothing had
changed on the political landscape, I would have been willing to
concede ground. That is the spirit our political leaders are not
endowed with. That is the spirit that is very much in short supply
among party leaders in the country,” he reasoned.

“Are you not just being philosophical Mr. Bulawula?”

“Not at all! Read between the lines. Opposition MPs are not acting in
the best interest of anybody apart from their own or that of their
leaders. That is why the Speaker has this time around invoked the
Doctrine of Necessity to allow business in the House to continue
because government business has to continue all the time. All the 12
million-plus Malawians cannot be allowed to suffer because some
180-something MPs can’t agree on one thing.

“To cut a long story short, all that Atcheya wants is to oust Bingu wa
Mutharika from power, for ditching UDF. That is very personal. I am not
interested, and I am sure millions of Malawians are also not interested
in personal vendettas.

“The MCP president, John Tembo, is also bitter because he still and
strongly believes the presidency was stolen from under his nose. So, he
also wants Bingu out of government for personal reasons and not because
his government has failed the country. No, thank you.”

“And if I were to advise this government, it is to say that it should
not play or allow anyone to play with people’s lives and welfare, not
any more, especially not with elections around the corner.

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