Malawi police ‘plan to block’ Bon Kalindo toll gates vigils, Kalindo adamant

The Malawi Police Service (MPS) says holding vigils at toll gates is a criminal offence under the laws of Malawi, hence “it will deal with anyone attempting to commit such an offence”.

MPS has said this in a statement dated 21 January, 2022, which is signed by the law enforcement agency’s spokesperson, James Kadadzera.

The statement is in reference to vigils that political activist Bon Kalindo and some concerned citizens plan to hold at Chingeni Toll Plaza and Kalinyeke Toll Gates on 25 January, 2022.

But Kalindo, who also leads protests against economic hardships across the country, has dismissed the statement, wondering why such laws “have emerged from nowhere”.

MPS, in the statement, says it is aware of plans by “some people” to conduct vigils at Chingeni Toll Plaza and Kalinyeke Toll Gate.

“The public is invited to note that section 237 of the Penal Code criminalizes the intentional endangering of safety of persons travelling by road. This includes dealing with the road in such a manner that affects the free flow and safe use of the road or safety of any person.

Additionally, section 99 of the Police Act prohibits the holding of an assembly or demonstration in such a manner that obstructs vehicle traffic movements on public roads,” reads the statement in part.

The statement adds that, in view of this, the planned vigils at the toll gates would amount to criminal offences.

“MPS would thus deal with any person attempting to commit such offences within its legal mandate of crime prevention,” says the statement.

But in an interview with Nyasa Times, Kalindo condemned MPS for its plans “to block” their vigils, insisting that they will still go to Chingeni Toll Plaza and Kalinyeke Toll Gate.

“If there are indeed such laws, why did the police not meet us and tell us well in advance. Why is it that it seems such laws are appearing from nowhere, now that we want to go to the toll gates. We will still go. Malawi is our own country. We have the right to do what we are planning to do,” said Kalindo.

Kalindo and other concerned citizens want authorities to further reduce fee charges at toll gates.

Meanwhile, Kalindo has dismissed a poster, which is circulating on social media, that he is organizing demonstrations to shut down Kamuzu Barracks and MPS headquarters in Lilongwe over corruption allegations.

“We cannot do such a thing. That is mere and cheap propaganda. It is the work of our enemies who fear the Bon Kalindo movement is gaining momentum and getting stronger more than they expected,” he said.

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