By Audrey Kapalamula, Samuel Kalimira & Jameson Chauluka:
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Thursday gave Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Reyneck Matemba 72 hours (three days) to name and arrest people suspected to be involved in attempts to bribe judges presiding over the presidential election’s case.
HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said if the ACB chief refuses to reveal names of the culprits, the coalition will lead citizens to protests calling for his resignation.
We are shocked that since November, the time judges complained, ACB has not arrested anyone. We are saying enough [is enough]. We want the names [of the culprits] and those people to be arrested and prosecuted,” he said
In Lilongwe, the march took over six hours before the protesters delivered their petition to Matemba.
This followed reports that some protesters from Msundwe, a volatile area in Lilongwe, were stopped from joining other protesters in the city.
In Blantyre, some people burnt a vehicle belonging to HRDC to mar what was an otherwise peaceful demonstration which attracted a low turn-up.
Malawi Defence Force soldiers led in the provision of security to the protesters, passersby and property.
HRDC Vice-Chairperson for the Southern Region, Masauko Thawe, who led the demonstrations, said they will continue protesting in the country’s streets if the government does not address their concerns.
“The fact that we are still in the streets means that we don’t have a listening government. Malawians are taking part in the demos to show that this is not the type of government they want,” he said.
In Mzuzu, Police arrested six people in connection to the looting of some shops during the demonstrations that attracted thousands of people from Katoto School ground to Mzuzu City Council civic offices.
Northern Region Police Public Relations Officer, Peter Kalaya, confirmed the arrests adding that the police have also recovered some of the looted property.
The protest started peacefully at round 9 o’clock in the morning but later turned violent when some protesters pelted stones on structures along Mzuzu dual carriageway from the Clock Tower.
Kalaya said they used teargas to disperse violent protesters.
“It is true that we used teargas but it is because of the situation [that was] on the ground. People should understand that teargas is one of the equipment we use to disperse crowd,” Kalaya said.