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2 nabbed for Mangochi violence

By Yohane Symon & Isaac Salima:

Mangochi police have arrested two men who are suspected to have assaulted UTM supporters, including stripping half-naked 34-year-old Veronica Katanga, on Sunday.

The suspects, who are from Mtagaluka Village, Traditional Authority Chowe, have been identified as 28-year-old Adam Masitala and 38-year-old Rajab Assan.

The suspects will be charged with counts of insulting the modesty of a woman and robbery.

Katanga’s husband has reportedly deserted her after being embarrassed by the attack, which has triggered national furore.

Malawi Police Service (MPS) national spokesperson,

James Kadadzera, said they expect to make more arrests in connection with the attacks.

“As police, we are very much concerned with cases of political violence in the country. We want to assure Malawians that we will be vigilant in protecting all Malawians without looking at their political affiliation,” he said.

Kadadzera said they are also investigating people who are behind the assault of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) supporter, Edward Govati, in Kanjedza Township, Blantyre, on Monday.

“Although MCP did not report the matter to us, we have identified officers to record a statement from the victim and start investigations so as to arrest those behind the attack,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Democratic Front (UDF) has given MPS a seven-day ultimatum to arrest people who assaulted the UTM supporters in Mangochi.

UDF Eastern Region vice-president, Lilian Patel, said this Wednesday during a press conference she held alongside the party’s deputy national organising secretary, Andrew Nkhana, in Mangochi Wednesday.

Patel said they are saddened that the attackers are being linked to UDF, a development which has prompted the party to demand that the police and National Intelligence Bureau should identify the culprits.

“There is a voice clip which is circulating on social media. The voice has been done deliberately to tarnish UDF’s image. But we want to distance ourselves from the individuals behind the assault of the UTM supporters,” Patel said.

“In UDF, we value peace and political co-existence because we are the first party that championed multi-party [politics] in the country. As such, we cannot allow other people to take us backwards.”

After the seven days, Patel said UDF would mobilise its women and petition President Peter Mutharika and Inspector General (IG) of police, Rodney Jose, to move them to act against violence perpetrators.

In a related development, Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese of the Catholic Church Wednesday urged Mutharika to speak against the politically motivated acts of violence ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

“I am surprised with the kind of political violence [being experienced in the country] which was not happening in the past, as it has gone to an extent of undressing women. This is not acceptable in our society.

“I totally condemn this behaviour and this should not be repeated in the country. And how I wish the President condemned those who are doing this and that they should be arrested and tried in a court of law. This is unacceptable to the church and the Malawi nation. We are a peaceful country and why should we do this?” Msusa said.

The country has witnessed a spate of political attacks, where Mulanje-South Member of Parliament and UTM youth director Bon Kalindo and Malawi Congress Party supporter Edward Govati have been assaulted.

Women from several political parties have also given Mutharika and the police an ultimatum to end the attacks of the opposition party followers.

Msusa made the remarks when he launched a two-year partnership between Catholic Women Organisation and Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (Teveta) aimed at training catholic women in the Southern Region in various areas.

“When these women have been trained, they will empower themselves and their families economically, which will end up having a developed church and country at large,” Msusa said.

Teveta Southern Region Manager, Elliot Mulanje, said it is their wish to invest in skills’ development in order to create employment opportunities.

Catholic Women Organisation Chairperson, Lucy Vokiwa, urged fellow women to utilise the opportunity so as to gain necessary skills for their well-being.

The training, that includes tailoring, food production and farming, will be conducted in various centres to be opened in different parishes.

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