Speaking when he delivered a State of the Nation Address during the opening of 48th Session of Malawi Parliament in Lilongwe on Friday, President Mutharika said that “twenty-five years ago, we vowed that we shall never, never, ever accept politics of terror, brutalization and victimization of the people. The majority of us rejected tyranny of the minority, politics of intimidation, and blood-thirsty politicians.”
But the Malawi leader expressed concern that since the country voted on 21 May, incidences of anarchy and brutality perpetrated by some political leaders has been the order of the day.
“We have seen head-teachers evicted and their schools demolished because they administered polling centres where communities voted for candidates whom some people did not want. Is this the democracy we agreed?” questioned the President.
He called on peace loving Malawians to break their silence and protect the peace that the coutry has been known for a long time, saying: “if we sit back in silence and watch this spirit growing, one day evil will rule this nation and take us ransom. It only takes silence of the good people for evil to triumph."
“We cannot take peace for granted. Peace is delicate. Peace is precious. When peace suffers, innocent people suffer. One thing I know, we are peace lovers. But Malawians cannot be taken for granted. I repeat, we cannot take Malawians for granted. Malawians will jealously defend their peace if endangered. This far, we have defended peace with peace. But that cannot be taken for granted either.”
And to those inciting violence, President Mutharika had this message: “Those who attack peace should know that we shall pay any price, confront any danger, conquer any challenge to defend our precious peace. We shall defend every Malawian, protect every school child, save every life to defend this country."
He added: “Malawians expect us to rise above our partisan interests for us to see a new horizon to which we take this country. Our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters – the farmers, fishermen, teachers, nurses, police officers, military officers; those vendors and minibus drivers, carpenters and tailors, men and women, and the youth of this country expect us to rise above our differences and improve their lives. But we can only develop this country and improve lives of the people who voted for us when there is peace and order."
Mutharika's remarks came in the wake of rowdy legislators from the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) who walked out of parliament on Friday, in protest at the State of Nation Address (SONA) presented by the President.
The MPs shouted on top of their voices, drowning deliberations as the new Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara, got a taste of things to come as she tried to control the situation, with a cool-looking Mutharika patiently waiting to start his speech.
It took over ten minutes before order returned to the House and after the opposition legislators walked out of the House, when the President finally begun delivering his SONA.
On Thursday, opposition demonstrators from MCP and UTM parties caused mayhem in the cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu, and also injured two Police officers at Capital Hill, when they held violent demonstrations, on the pretext of forcing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign over some alleged vote rigging.
"Police is saddened by the adverse behavior of some protestors during the demonstrations," Malawi Police chief publicist James Kadadzera said in a statement.
Kadadzera said in Mzuzu, some protestors ransacked Bata Shoe Company shop, while in Blantyre, some demonstrators damaged billboards, government property, set flags ablaze and blocked the busy Masauko Chipembere Highway.