Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of opposition in parliament, Lazarus Chakwera, has said it is sad that a few superstitious individuals and communities have chosen to “tear the fabric of our society apart” and disturb the peace in the country through spread of fallacious ‘bloodsucking’ rumours.
Malawi has been marred with the rumours, and nine lives of people suspected to be blood suckers have been lost through mob violence and vigilantism in the districts of Phalombe, Thyolo, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Blantyre, Zomba and Balaka.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Chakwera said he learnt with “shock, anger, and sadness” about the deaths.
He said it was unfortunate that “innocent Malawians have been killed by angry mobs in broad daylight and, in some case, right in front of a police station that was overwhelmed by the same.”
Said Chakwera: “[Though] I have been hindered from lending my hands-on assistance to the authorities in addressing the latest manifestation of this unconscionable behaviour, I have been briefed about the appropriate measures the Police have finally taken to expedite the arrest of those who have been presuming to take the law into their own hands on the back of unfounded and ill-conceived rumours about so-called bloodsuckers.”
Chakwera further applauded the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) for working together to contain “these lawless acts and restore law and order” all the affected areas.
He then called upon President Peter Mutharika to organize a national solemn assembly for genuine contrition and repentance.
“This needs to come from him as a public gesture of his commitment to stop running this country on rumour-mongering, as demonstrated by recent attempts by some in his camp to blame opposition parties for instigating this crisis,” he said.
He added: “His initiative in this regard would also give him an opportunity to address the underlying socio-economic frustrations that his government has left unaddressed since he took office, leaving our youth angry at his failures of leadership and at the mercy of hooligans and vandals.”
According to Chakwera, it is also imperative of President Mutharika to commission a public enquiry into the existing social-economic factors that underlie and trigger such phenomena.
“[This will help] to address [the issues] proactively and preventatively so that the deaths and destruction we have witnessed lately never happen again,” he said.
Commenting on the matter on Saturday, when he attended the official launch of the cultural grouping for Senas and Mang’anjas called Ngumano wa Asena na Mang’anja at Paramount Chief Lundu’s headquarters in Chikwawa, President Peter Mutharika highlighted that if anyone will be found attacking or accusing another of being a bloodsucker, they will be arrested.
He urged the nation to concentrate on developing the country than dwelling on the blood sucker issue maintaining that so far there is no evidence of any bloodsuckers in Malawi.
Police say they have made nearly 150 arrests following deadly mob attacks on people suspected of being “vampires.” At least nine people have been killed in attacks following the blood sucker rumors in Malawi.
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