DPP supporters hold protests in Lhomwe belt over ‘coup’ arrests: Petition govt to free suspects

Hundreds of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the ‘Lhomwe belt’ districts of Thyolo, Phalombe and Mulanje on Tuesday morning mobilized themselves to demonstrate against the arrest of party officials including its acting president Professor Peter Mutharika on Monday.

The supporters accompanied by chiefs include some party officials, clad in party colours marched peacefully to the Thyolo District Commissioner (DC) offices where they delivered a petitioning giving government 48 hours to release Mutharika and others.

The demonstrators led by Thyolo district governor, Wyson Mujola petition handed their petition to Thyolo DC a Mr. Kwalani before converging at DPP offices at Thyolo Boma where they chanted songs ridiculing President Joyce Banda administration, accusing it for orchestrating the arrests to frustrate the party’s 2014 comeback to power.

One of the party officials taking part in the march, Parliamentarian Charles Mchacha said people were angry over the arrests, describing them as political.

Topless protest: DPP female supporter
Topless protest: DPP female supporter

“At the time we are planning for our convention next month; at the time we are expecting to commemorate Bingu’s death, and then come in arrests which are political in nature. People are crying here,” Mchacha, who recently dumped ruling People’s Party to return to DPP said.

While Mujola said if Mutharika and others are not released within 48 hours there will be week long demonstrations, saying “business will surely come to a stand still because we will not retire until they released our leaders”.

On Monday morning police rounded up Mutharika and several other party officials including first vice president Jean kalilani, Patricia Kaliati, Henry Mussa, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Nicholas Dausi and Kondwani Nankhumwa.

Mutharika, who is at Lumbazi police station, is expected to be in court to be formally charged on two counts of soliciting to break the law which is contrary to section 124 of the penal code as well as perjury.

While Kaliati, Mussa, Kaunda, Kalilani, Dausi and Nankhumwa will be charged with conspiring to break the law contrary to Section 124 of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, there is tension in Lilongwe as Mutharika and others are expected to apply for bail at Lilongwe Magistrates court as party supporters are blocking roads while burning tyres in demonstration against the arrests.

At the time of posting this story, Zodiak Broadcasting Station reported that DPP supporters were also protesting in Zomba and stormed the District Commissioner’s office.

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