DPP thugs ‘smoke out’ activist Hajat offices

Rafiq Hajat, one of Malawi’s leading rights activist and a fierce critic of President Bingu wa Mutharika, has been dealt a heavy blow as thugs stormed his offices in Blantyre to set ablaze the building.

This is the second time Hajat, the director of the Institute for Policy Interaction advocacy group, has experienced a similar tragedy with the first of burglary last year.

Thugs believed to be hired by ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stormed the premises at midnight and petrol-bombed the building destroying office equipment and files.

A source close to Hajat said the thugs dragged the guard to the road carried him away with them.

Gutted: IPI offices

Hajat: Office petrol bombed

“I understand the thugs threw a petrol bomb into the house through a window. His files, books and chairs among others are destroyed,” said a police source.

“ Hajat was not at the place. He is in Lilongwe conducting meetings on the newly founded Forum for the Defence of Democracy,” the source said.

Recently, Hajat  – one of the key organisers of anti-government protests said  he  was leading a “solitary existence” following threats from President Bingu wa Mutharika to “smoke out” organisers of the demonstration.

The President accused the protesters of committing treason.

But presidential and ruling DPP spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba said it would be wrong to associate the party in the criminal assault.

He called for law enforcers to properly investigate the incident.

Hajat and Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) president Kamlepo Kalua are behind the formation of the Forum for the Defence of Democracy, a pressure group on governance issues.

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