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DPP, PP tension brewing in Northern Region

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THE ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) continues to raise political tension in the Northern Region in its quest to strike at the foundations of opposition People’s Party (PP) and the revamped Alliance for Democracy (Aford).

Apart from scenes of violence caused by alleged DPP cadets at Aford rallies, tensions are simmering in the PP following the DPP’s announcements that some party members have dumped the PP to the blue camp without their [defectors] prior knowledge.

18 people are currently nursing injuries sustained from the violence that marred a political rally addressed by Aford president Enock Chihana at Kaporo in Karonga last Saturday.

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It is alleged that young men clad in DPP regalia, chanting president Peter Mutharika’s name and that of DPP parliamentary aspirant for 2019 in the area Mungasulwa Mwambande, invaded the venue and the situation forced the Aford security detail to retaliate.

The altercation degenerated into chaos which led to the injuries. Member of Parliament (MP) for Karonga Central Constituency Frank Mwenifumbo confirmed the incident Tuesday saying the DPP has been bent at provoking Aford and stopping its efforts in resuscitating the party which has been on a political deathbed for years.

“Some of them carried pangas and machetes, when we peacefully asked them to leave they started beating up old men and women who came to the rally,” explained Mwenifumbo who said police did not show up even after word was sent to them.

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When things got out of hand, the Karonga Central legislator said the Aford security detail controlled the situation by using tasers and pepper spray. An impending fracas was also foiled on Tuesday at the Karonga community ground where alleged cadets stormed the venue and tried to prevent people from attending Chihana’s rally saying it was disrespectful of Aford to be conducting a meeting while Mutharika was on duty in the region.

Meanwhile, PP leadership in the Northern Region has accused the DPP of causing confusion in the party. During a development rally in Mzimba presided over by Mutharika on Thursday, DPP Secretary General Greselder Jeffrey announced that the whole regional committee of the former ruling party led by Provincial Chairperson Maquenda Chunga had defected to the ruling party.

But Chunga on Friday told The Sunday Times that the announcement came as a surprise to him saying he had no prior knowledge of all what transpired at the rally.

“After my name was mentioned, I indeed went and shook hands with the president because I did not want to embarrass him. It was also a security precaution on my part because I doubt if DPP loyalists would have let go of me had I refused,” said Chunga. He said the members of the committee which has defected to DPP are not genuine members of the party but followers of former PP  Vice President Khumbo Kachali who has formed Freedom Party.

Commenting on the development youth activist Charles Kajoloweka warned the DPP against politics of provocation and imposition.  The sentiments were also echoed by political commentator George Phiri of Livingstonia University who asked political parties in the country to tread carefully on matters that involve other parties if they are to be taken seriously.

Both commentators have warned of a more volatile political situation ahead of the 2019 elections if nothing is done to address the present situation.

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