2024-06-23

Youth led CSOs condemn violence against DPP supporters in Lilongwe

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Youth led Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have vehemently condemned the violent acts against Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters who lawfully gathered to peacefully conduct a Blue Convoy Parade in Lilongwe City on 24th February, 2024.

The CSOs says every person has duties towards other people without discrimination and to maintain relations aimed at promoting, safeguarding and reinforcing mutual respect and tolerance saying individual rights and freedoms must be exercised with due regard for the rights of others, collective security, morality and common interest.

The organizations say they are all aware that as the country is moving towards the 2025 general elections, their will be risks of escalation of political violence which pose serious concern for the safety and well-being of individuals.

Writing in a joint statement dated 25th February, 2024 signed by Mathews Kajani of Mzuzu Youth Anti-Corruption Movement, the CSOs have expressed fears of the tendency of senior political actors who exploit the youth to carry out acts of violence against their opponents in pursuit of narrow political interests.

The CSOs say this practice jeopardizes the security of these youth and perpetuates a cycle of aggression and hostility observing that the impact of political violence extends beyond physical harm discouraging the youth from actively participating in various activities within the electoral cycle.

“Fear of violence deter the youth from attending rallies, engaging in discussions, or expressing their political opinions openly,” reads the statement in part.

The organizations say a health democracy relies on peaceful and transparent elections, and any form of violence disrupts this essential balance advising party leaders that addressing political violence is crucial not only for the safety of individuals but also for maintaining the integrity of democratic processes.

The CSOs have demanded the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to investigate the violence in Lilongwe and all other cases of political violence with speed and bring perpetrators to book advising all political actors to desist from exploiting the youth to perpetrate acts of violence against their opponents.

The organizations have also advised young people to reject attempts to use them in pursuance of narrow political interests through violence and the newly instituted National Peace Commission to facilitate national dialogue on eliminating political violence in the 2025 general election.

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