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DPP cadets on rampage

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters yesterday chased Lilongwe City Deputy Mayor, Juliana Kaduya, from attending the commissioning of Malawi National Fibre Backbone Project which was presided over by President Peter Mutharika.

The Daily Time s saw members of the youth wing of the party, who are called cadets, telling Kaduya to leave the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) auditorium a few minutes before Mutharika arrived at the venue.

When leaving the auditorium, Kaduya was heard saying “akufuna kundimenya”, (they want to beat me), as she was being escorted out of the auditorium by police officers. On her way out she passed by one of the party’s vice presidents, Hetherwick Ntaba.

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Kaduya, however, succeeded in leaving the place unhurt. But The Daily Times crew followed her and in an interview at Area 13, the Deputy Mayor said the cadets told her they were sent by some senior party officials.

“I was in the hall at the BICC and I saw some boys who came to tell me to leave the hall. When going out, I met Dr Ntaba and Chimwemwe Chipungu. Dr Ntaba asked me what was happening but I told him ‘these are your boys. Why can’t you stop them?’ I then called my driver and left the place,” Kaduya said.

She added: “In the past, one of the senior party officials called to tell me that I should never be found at presidential functions. But I was there because it was a national event.”

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During the launch of the project, politics was not far from the national event. Minister of Information Nicholas Dausi, was also heard shouting DPP slogans before he made his speech.

In a separate interview, Ntaba said he was equally surprised with what was happening to Kaduya.

“I just saw her leaving, she walked past me. I asked her what was happening but she just said she was going to report. Maybe if she asked for assistance I could have done something but she was walking past me,” Ntaba said.

Kaduya, who was elected DPP councillor for Chilinde 1 Ward in the 2014 Local Government Elections, has found herself being treated as an outsider following the results of January mayoral elections.

Some party officials accuse her of helping Malawi Congress Party (MCP) councillor, Desmond Bikoko, to win the mayoral seat.

Meanwhile, the cadets also turned a funeral ceremony of politician Helen Singh at Comesa Hall in Blantyre, into a battle ground as they bayed for blood of MCP leaders.

The people nearly marred the funeral ceremony when they tried to block MCP supporters from welcoming their leader Lazarus Chakwera.

Specifically targeted was MCP parliamentary candidate for Lilongwe City South East Constituency, Ulemu Msungama, who demanded a re-run which the Supreme Court of Appeal granted after a protracted legal battle.

The people threatened to stab Msungama as he was organising the party followers to welcome Chakwera.

“The President (Chakwera) came by air from Lilongwe. When he landed at Chileka, I started organising some women to welcome him as per our tradition. DPP supporters in their regalia demanded that the women should go back inside the hall. They argued we could not welcome Dr. Chakwera saying the country has one President, Arthur Peter [Mutharika]. They also threatened to stab me, saying I am a troublemaker in the country,” he said.

Msungama said he was later tipped that the people planned to deal with him and was whisked away in a tinted vehicle mid-way through the service.

DPP Regional Governor for the south, Charles Mchacha, who represented the President at the funeral, said he was not aware of the incident.

“I do not know anything about that. I arrived almost at the same time with the Leader of Opposition and everything was normal. Nobody has reported anything of that sort to my office,” he said.

DPP cadets are known for their violent and unorthodox means of challenging supporters of other political parties. In 2011, the cadets brandished new pangas, sharpening them on Chipembere Highway in a bid to scare away people from demonstrating in the July 20, 2011 anti-government protests.

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