President Peter Mutharika has said protestors who were killed when they demonstrated against fuel shortages, inflation and unemployment targeting his elder brother late president Bingu wa Mutharika on July 20, 2011 were not thieves and looters as Bingu and some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials claimed.
About 20 people were shot dead by police and several others injured in the nationwide demonstration against the DPP administration led by Bingu wa Mutharika for “autocratic kleptocracy”.
President Mutharika has contradicted his deceased brother who branded the victims as thieves, saying they were in fact respected citizens of the country and deserved respect all the time.
“If it was possible to scrap off July 20 from the calendar, the President would have been the first person to do that. It is a bad day to the country,” said presidential adviser on non-governmental organisations Mavuto Bamusi in a statement on behalf of Mutharika during a memorial service at Zolozolo cemetery in Mzuzu on the anniversary of 7/11.
During Monday’s memorial at Zolozolo cemetery where eight of the 20 killed were buried, Bamusi said the President is totally against labelling the people killed in the protests as thieves.
Mercy Mbezuma Mfune, spokesperson for the bereaved families, asked government to come to their rescue by constructing tombstones and supporting them as most of those killed were their families’ breadwinners.
Analysts say 7/11 incident baptised Malawians “and every time they see something bad, they will always go into the streets”.
Late Mutharika regime was intolerant of dissenting voices and some observers say it is also mirroring in the current DPP led administration which has almost the same machinery of Bingu.