Some members of the youth arm of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been implicated in attacks targeting government critics and the opposition, The Daily Times has established.
However, DPP has distanced itself from such perpetrators of violence, saying they are not its members.
The revelation comes in the wake of the arrest in Nkhata Bay on Thursday of a well-known Cadet, Paul Kawaza, who was found in possession of a firearm, among other weapons.
Kawaza also allegedly abducted a person at gunpoint while claiming to be a police officer at Chintheche, before picking him in his vehicle, a Toyota Ractis registration number NA 971.
Northern Region Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya Sunday confirmed the arrest of Kawaza, saying the law enforcers were doing their best to extract as much information as possible from the 27-year-old suspect who is remanded at Nkhata Bay Prison.
“He is not explaining where he got the rifle and what he uses it for, but we have confiscated it and he has started appearing in court for possessing a firearm, intimidation and abduction,” Kalaya said.
But a police source in Nkhata Bay, speaking on condition of anonymity on Saturday, said Kawaza was divulging information that might be critical to other ongoing investigations of cases of violence and attacks linked to the post-election impasse.
“From his statements, there seemingly is a political hand in the various offences being committed across the country. As police, we have a lot of work to do, I must say, to ensure public security,” he said.
But Kalaya refused to comment on the revelations, saying Kawaza was being handled like any other suspect.
Hearing of his case continues on August 26 2019 at Nkhata Bay First Grade Magistrate Court.
Reacting to the allegation, DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the party did not have Kawaza’s name in its database.
“The regional governor says they don’t know that man and if he has committed a crime, definitely the police have to do their job,” Dausi said.
Political analyst Ernest Thindwa, however, said the revelations were not surprising as DPP leadership has, for some time, been allegedly linked to violence.
“You may remember that, some years ago, panga-wielding DPP youths terrorised the streets of Blantyre and no one was arrested or cautioned. So, it is not surprising at all. For people who perpetrate such kind of violence, it is a form of employment. There is somebody within the party who pays them for that. They are rewarded. Until such a time such people start facing the law, these attacks on government critics would continue,” Thindwa said.
On Friday, Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, during a press briefing in Lilongwe, accused DPP of masterminding the petrol-bombing of the house belonging to Human Rights Defenders Coalition Chairperson Timothy Mtambo in Lilongwe, the party’s offices in Blantyre and Cold Storage offices for MCP vice president Sidik Mia.
But the government, through Information Minister Mark Botomani, has condemned the recent spate of petrol bombs attributing them to what they call violent anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations which have been taking place across the country.