MMD faction president Nevers Mumba has called on President Edgar Lungu to “urgently intervene” in the ongoing Malawi impasse in his capacity as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) chairperson on Security and Defense.
He stated that Zambia and Malawi had so much in common politically, economically and socially and likened the two countries’ similarities to twins.
“In the political arena, both countries were colonized by the British. Furthermore, between 1953 and 1963, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi made up the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Economically both countries rely on Agriculture, and socially, both Countries have Christianity as the major religion. The Chewas and Tumbukas who make up the majority of the population in Malawi are also found in Zambia. The Paramount Chief of the Chewa people, His Royal Highness Gawa Undi is in fact based in Zambia in Katete district. So It wouldn’t be wrong for one to conclude that Zambia and Malawi are twins,” Mumba stated.
“Malawi, like Zambia, is a member of both the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) and the Africa Union (AU). We are fortunate that our Republican President Mr. Lungu is the Chairperson of the Security and Defense Wing of SADC. We call upon President Lungu to urgently call for a SADC defence and security meeting to discuss the Malawi Impasse and find peaceful means to resolve it before it escalates.”
The former Republican vice-president stated that the political impasse in Malawi that had arisen after an election dispute could have been avoided if all political players were part and parcel of the election process.
“Our brothers and sisters of Malawi, like us, are known to be peaceful and loving people. The images and videos coming from Malawi are extremely worrying. I would like to commend the opposition parties in Malawi for taking their concerns over the disputed Presidential elections to the Constitutional Court. However, we would like to urge all Parties to restrain themselves and their supporters from taking the law into their own hands. We also urge security forces not to be heavy handed in dealing with their own citizens,” Mumba stated.
“This impasse wouldn’t have happened if all the political players were part and parcel of the election process. We, however, commend the courts in Malawi for their landmark ruling last Friday on the ‘right to be heard’ case lodged by the opposition. This will afford the people of Malawi an opportunity to verify the authenticity of the disputed election. It is such actions that diffuse conflict in a nation.”
He has further stated that the regional bodies like the AU and SADC should take advantage of early warnings to prevent catastrophes from happening on the Continent.
Mumba noted that in the past, the region had not taken advantage of early warnings to avert catastrophes.
He cited Zimbabwe where SADC procrastinated in intervening until the military moved in at a high cost to human life
“…and the case of Sudan is another example of failure on the part of continental and regional watchdog organizations whose results were a military intervention at great human cost. It is for this reason that we are asking SADC to avoid another catastrophe in the making in Malawi. We are running out of time. Any unrest in Malawi affects the security of our nation. The cessation of hostilities in Malawi therefore is in the interest of our country,” Mumba said.
Meanwhile, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema stated that the emerging political instability in Malawi called for reflection and urgent action on how to manage elections in the SADC region and Africa as a whole.
“It’s high time SADC took a keen and critical interest on how elections are managed by its members instead of always being an endorser, perpetrator of illegalities and bystander of electoral malpractices by its member states, against the will of the people. SADC must emulate the uncompromising stance taken by West Africa’s ECOWAS who do not tolerate or entertain the compromising of democracy in member states. They jealously protect the will of the people if the seating government is found wanting,” Hichilema stated.
“The identical cultural and historical ties between Malawi and Zambia since their Independence from British colonial rule has precipitated a symbiotic relationship whose experiences tend to be replicated in both Countries. What happens in Zambia will usually influence events in Malawi and vice versa. This is an indisputable fact and evidence abounds. To this end, we in Zambia call on all political players and stakeholders to hold a genuine conversation with each other, under a neutral and credible arbitrator, which in this case is the three Church Mother Bodies. We must without fear, proactively and critically address a number of challenges that has has left our beautiful country heavily divided after the 2016 General elections.”