Drama continues at Karonga District Council between the workers and the embattled District Commissioner Rosemary Moyo as the DC has refused to take 11 days forced leave given by the Ministry of Local Government claiming that she has not been communicated officially.
According to Moyo who appeared into office on Monday, the reports that she is on leave are unfounded, saying she is only learning them in the media.
But her return to council prompted the irate workers to boycott the work demanding she abdicates her office.
The incident forced Moyo to call the District Police Officer In charge Edward Chingayipe to lead his men to arrest the workers claiming that their decision was against her court injunction restraining them from forcing her out.
“Am here to do my usual duties, the issue that am on forced leave is not true,” said Moyo.
Chingayipe confirmed that 42 workers have been arrested who will appear before court to answer charges of contempt of court.
“We are here to make sure that there is peace at government offices as well as to protect lives and properties so the workers do not have powers to remove the DC from her office on top of that there is an injunction restraining them not to overthrow the person in question that is why we have arrested them so that others should take a lesson,” said Chingayipe.
The Principle Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development Christ Kang’ombe confirmed to media that Rosemary Moyo was given a leave with effect from Monday until government sort out the issue to avoid bloodshed as the two fail to settle down the matter.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the district have condemned the “arbitrary” arrest of the workers and demand their immediate release.
According to the petition signed by Karonga CSO’s Network Chairperson Yotam Kaunda, the District Chairperson of Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Rev. Lesile Mtekateka and Jabesi Nyirenda of Foundation for Community Support Services ( FOCUS) among others, the court injunction does not restrict workers from exercising a peaceful demonstration.
“As Civil Society Organizations in Karonga we have learnt with great shock that our Law enforcers are in forefront violating their law by arresting the council direct employees in the name of court injunction,” cited the petition.
“Section 38 of the republic of Malawi allows any person to express their freedom of sit in protest and demonstrate with others peacefully which was the case with the workers on top of that the injunction granted by Justice Dingiswayo Madise of Mzuzu High court does not restrain the employee to have a sit in protest, hence we demand their immediate release because what the police have done is a gross violation of human rights.”
On 24 September this year, Moyo was kicked out of her office by the irate council workers as they alleged that Moyo was responsible for their poor working conditions such as exorbitant pension deductions and delayed salaries.
Chairperson for the workers union, Bentley Chihana, alleged that since Moyo assumed the office of Karonga DC, the workers’ welfare has declined significantly.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :