There was tension in the capital city, Lilongwe, where vendors have been successfully moved to designated areas after providing a brief ‘fight’ against police and city officials.
Asian shops were closed in Old Town as the vendors pelted stones at unrelenting police officers and city officials, who kept advancing on them till they succumbed and left the streets. Some were beaten using baton sticks and in one instance a small group of the vendors were treated to a dose of teargas.
The police was not intimidated as has been the case before.
In the commercial city of Blantyre the vendors peacefully left the streets and relocated to designated areas, apart from a handful around the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) area that briefly resisted the purge.
Meanwhile the northern city of Mzuzu experienced a different scenario, where a few vendors traded on the streets, taking advantage of the absence of police officers and city council staff, who may be engaged in the 20th July 2011 commemorations taking place at the Mzuzu Stadium, attended by President Mrs. Joyce Banda.
People feared the timing of the vendor-purge was dangerous as it coincided with 20th July last year, when Malawians took to the streets to protest against late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s political and financial poor governance, leading to the death of about 20 unarmed peacefully marching people.
Around 50 civilians including journalists were beaten and wounded by marauding police and handful police officers were also wounded.
The Mutharika regime is alleged to have ordered the police through former Inspect General Peter Mukhito to shoot using live ammunition at the protestors, after a late night court order tried to stop the planned protests.