Hajat ‘desolated’ over office petrol bomb

Rafiq  Hajat, one of Malawi’s leading rights activists and a fierce critic of President Bingu wa Mutharika, says he has shocked when he visited his Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) offices in the commercial capital, Blantyre which was torched by fire  suspected from a petrol bomb during the midnight of between Thursday and Friday .

“I visited my offices today (Saturday) and felt utterly desolated by the loss of invaluable archives and priceless documents replaced by senseless destruction,” Hajat said in remarks he posted on Facebook .

Arsonists  suspected to be operatives of ruling DPP  on Friday broke window panes at IPI offices at l Lai Lubani Road near Wanderers Club  and threw in a suspected petrol bomb, according to Samuel Milepa who lives at IPI’s compound.

Hajat: Disolated

“Where there’s smoke, there must be fire – or so the logic would seem to suggest? If so, then the blame for this dastardly act falls squarely upon the shoulders of the instigator,” Hajat further wrote.

“Where is the justice for my loss? What guarantee do we have for the safety of our families? I merely dreamed of a better Malawi for all – is that such a terrible crime?,” he added.

Shelves containing books and documents, office furniture and computers were destroyed in the fire.

There were no immediate estimated costs of the loss but Hajat said it could run in millions of Kwacha.

Police spokesman Dave Chingwalu said police are still investigating the incident and were trying to trace the guard , currently at large,  to quiz him on the matter.

“Police are still investigating this matter,” Chingwalu said.

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.

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.

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