Violence reared its ugly head on Thursday afternoon when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youths clad in their party regalia, some wielding panga knifes, gatecrashed Peoples Party (PP) rally that was being addressed by party northern region chairman Rev Chimwemwe Mzomera Ngwira in Chitipa.
The actions of the DPP youth provoked PP supporters who immediately sought to eject them from the meeting but attracted the wrath of the ruling party youth who started a fight.
Ngwira had to restrain youths from his party after police providing security at the venue appeared to have failed to stop the DPP intruders from disrupting the rally.
The DPP youth started pelting stones and hurling insults to the PP members.
Police managed to arrest three DPP officials for suspected to have caused the violence.
Chitipa Police Spokesperson Solemn Chunga confirmed to Nyasa Times the arrest of the three DPP members but denied to identify the suspects.
“The three will answer charges of conduct likely to cause a breach of peace after all the investigations are done,” said Chunga who shielded their identities.
Meanwhile, a police source revealed to Nyasa Times that one of the arrested suspects is the DPP Regional Committee member who was also the DPP campaign director of the district Philemon Mtambo.
In his address, Ngwira condemned the DPP for “anti-democracy activities”, saying that PP may not be able to control its angry supporters if the reports of attacks continue.
“It is very unfortunate to see that the party which is supposed to portray a good image is involved in violence and wants to rule by the pangas and guns,” said Ngwira.
Adding that “this is a clearly indication that the DPP government is a failure and they know that they did not win the 20 May election which was clearly rigged that is why they are afraid of the Peoples Part that come next election we are going to eject them from power.”
He pointed out that there was a “seething anger simmering across the length and breadth of Malawi” which DPP should avoid to trigger reaction.
Ngwira who spoke to PP supporters for few minutes as he was told to leave the place for safety reasons, expressed worry with the development.
“As you are all aware, I was in DPP as regional governor but dumped party. It is a violent party and lacks discipline.”
He also advanced a call for federal system of government, saying DPP does not like the northerners “so it is wise to be on our own.”
The Chitipa violence comes after DPP cadres on Wednesday jumped off the governing party’s branded pick-up in Mzuzu and beat up a bicycle taxi operator for allegedly insulting the party and President Peter Mutharika.
The mob descended on John Mphande, 31, around 11am when he termed DPP a club of thieves as the blue pickup passed by National Bank of Malawi Mzuzu Service Centre around 11.30pm.
According to press report, Mphande was feeling pain all over his body but would not seek medical attention for fear of being arrested or suffering further assault.
University of Malawi political professor Blessings Chinsinga described the provocation as hardly serious enough to warrant a beating likely to remind Malawians about the ugly scenes of intolerance and impunity DPP supporters unleashed on Malawians during the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s rule.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :