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Heavy police presence as MCP supporters meet

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By Jameson Chauluka:

There was heavy presence of police officers around Malawi Congress Party (MCP) regional offices for the Southern Region in Blantyre where the party held one of its routine prayers for the country in the wake of the disputed results of the May 21 presidential election.

The police officers, who were in an armored vehicle locally called Chimbaula and three other vehicles, surrounded the office when the prayers were in progress.

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Addressing the MCP supporters, who braved the police officers’ presence to attend the prayers, the party’s National Executive Committee member, Kondi Msungama, poked fun at the law enforcers.

“We should commend the police officers who have surrounded us and whoever has sent them. Looking at how they are guarding us here, we are sure that no person with albinism will be attacked.

Let’s hope that they will continue providing us with this level of security in all our prayers,” he said.

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Initially, the prayers were supposed to start from the regional offices after which the MCP supporters were to march and finish praying at the party’s district offices at Crock Tower Roundabout.

However, Blantyre District Council authorities refused to grant the supporters permission to march from the regional office to their district one within the city.

A letter signed by Blantyre District Commissioner Bennet Nkasala, addressed to MCP Southern Region Committee, refused to grant them permission due to what it called security concerns.

“Looking at the tensions prevailing and after assessing security situation on the ground I wish to advise that it will not be in the best interest of all stakeholders concerned to proceed with your plans to hold the prayers,” the letter reads in part.

But Msungama said MCP supporters were within their rights to gather and express their concerns peacefully wherever they wanted.

The party’s supporters have been holding peaceful demonstrations because they are unhappy with Malawi Electoral Commission’s decision to declare Peter Mutharika the winner of the presidential race.

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