Malawi Police use tear gas on protesting teachers over MEC allowances

Police on Friday used tear gas and shot into the air as they tried to disperse over hundreds of teachers for staging a peaceful demonstration over their delayed allowances payment by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

Heavy handed police tactics is back
Heavy handed police tactics is back
Some of the teachers show their placard
Some of the teachers show their placard

The march, in the capital Lilongwe, was called by teachers from Lilongwe Rural East, Lilongwe Urban and Lilongwe Rural West who are demanding that the electoral body pays them their stipends for their work  in the polling exercise during the May 20 Tripartite Elections.

“As the teachers were about to reach DC’s office from Lilongwe Town Hall to present the petition peacefully, the police started  firing tear gas,” said Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) vice-treasurer general, Rabson Chilambula.

Chilambula condemned the heavy-handed police tactics.

No injuries were reported but Police defended their response, saying the teachers – despite exercising the rights as enshrined in the constitution –  were “causing public disorder.”

Lilongwe Police officer-in-charge, Richard Luhanga, said the streets protest were not approved.

Meanwhile, MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa has assured that the teachers will get their money and attributed the delay of payment to a mix-up of bank accounts.

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