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DPP, Aford supporters clash

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Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadets Sunday clashed with Alliance for Democracy (Aford) supporters after the ruling party followers demolished a podium which the party’s president Enock Chihana wanted to use for the rally he conducted in Rumphi North Constituency.

The constituency belongs to Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango, who is also DPP National Campaign Director.

Chihana confirmed the development in an interview with The Daily Times but challenged that the incident would not stop him and his party reclaiming its political territory in the Northern Region which he said the party lost before 2009 elections.

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However, Mhango said he is not aware of the incident adding he was in Nkhotakota.

But Chihana said his supporters have been beaten by the cadets who were trying to block them from conducting the rally.

“My supporters have been served because I quickly sent my own ‘battalion’ to rescue them. Otherwise, many would have been injured.

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“However, we are still continuing with our meeting although they have demolished my podium,” Chihana said.

But Mhango faulted Chihana for conducting a meeting in his constituency without notifying him.

“Ask him if the campaign period has been opened. What failed him even to inform me that he is coming to my constituency?” Mhango queried.

He then argued that Chihana’s rallies are not as important as those he [Mhango] conducts because they are developmental in nature.

But Chihana said Mhango has no mandate to permit him conducting meetings anywhere in the country.

“He has been coming to my constituency for more than five times. I have never attacked or insulted him. Who is he to stop me from talking to my Aford supporters at Lura?’ Chihana queried.

However, Rumphi Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Charles Mpezeni, said the police are not aware of the incident.

Mpezeni said the police heard that Chihana wanted to use a ground which the communities are using for their football bonanza.

“We have sent our officers to calm the situation. We have told [Mr] Chihana to move from the place and find another venue so that they should not disturb the plans of football bonanza that were already there. But we do not have reports of any injury,” Mpezeni said.

But a social commentator, Charles Kajoloweka, said the incident is an embarrassment to the country which claims to be democratic.

Kajoloweka, however, said it is high time stakeholders monitored such political activities in order to find best ways of containing such related incidents before they worsen come 2019 elections.

He added that it would be a lie that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are serving Malawians if such incidents are ignored.

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