AFTER allegedly demolishing a podium where Alliance for Democracy (Aford) President Enock Chihana was to address a rally in Rumphi last weekend, a group of people suspected to be cadets of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over the week beat up more Aford supporters.
The Sunday Times has learnt that one of the victims, Nyazgewo Msiska, who is Aford’s Chairperson for the northern zone, was admitted to Rumphi District Hospital after sustaining serious injuries while several members were treated as out-patients for injuries of various degrees.
The cadets went on rampage after a political rally addressed by Minister of Transport Jappie Mhango who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Rumphi North Constituency. Our impeccable sources say the cadet drove Msiska from her house and confiscated Aford party regalia such as hats, wrappers and work suits and set them ablaze.
Aford General Secretary Christopher Richi confirmed the incident in a telephone interview Tuesday saying the most targeted were former DPP’s constituency governor Newton Gondwe and others who have defected to Aford.
“We got intelligence that honourable[Jappie] Mhango is not happy that our party is penetrating his constituency, but we are surprised that he has resorted to violence as way of suffocating people’s decisions,” Richi said.
He said the DPP should lead by example and respect people’s freedom of assembly and association. He stressed that they would not be discouraged by any form of provocation in their quest to revamp the party which was once a force to reckon with.
“Days of political intolerance are over since we are in a democratic dispensation. We are a peaceful party and we will take up the matter with the right law enforcement [authorities]. We condemn in strongest terms this path that the DPP has decided to take,” Richi said.
Gondwe said in a separate interview that the people who have defected from the DPP to Aford in Rumphi are now living in fear. When contacted, Mhango and DPP Regional Governor for the north Kenneth Sanga did not pick our calls after several attempts but Mhango told our sister paper, The Daily Times, that Chihana was to blame for conducting a rally in his constituency without alerting him.
But Chihana hit back that the transport minister has been to his constituency, Rumphi Central, several times but was never harassed or insulted. Asked if arrests have been made in connection with the incident, Northern Region Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya expressed ignorance and referred us to Rumphi Police Station whose officers could not be drawn to comment.
Meanwhile, youth activist Charles Kajoloweka has warned of a more volatile political environment ahead of 2019 elections, and has thus challenged various stakeholders to monitor the country’s political activities for appropriate interventions.
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