National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo, who is a former protests organiser, said government had time and again invited demonstrations organisers for dialogue but they refuse which he says raises questions on the motive.
Mtambo said the Chakwera administration is always open for dialogue.
Mtambo’s remarks come as demo organisers and other 72 protesters remain in police custody after their arrest on Wednesday for contempt of court.
The Lilongwe magistrate court is expected to rule on Monday on their bail application.
They were arrested after they ignored a court injunction and went ahead with violent protests in Lilongwe which damaged property and led to looting of shops and the damage cost is estimated to be at K80 million.
Speculators state that businessman Leston Mulli and Vice President Saulos Chilima sponsored the protests.
Mtambo said from the beginning they told the protests organizers to engage government first for discussions before storming the streets; something he says is not happening.
“We once tried as government to engage concerned groups but they went ahead with the protests.
“This makes us believe the demos are not done in good faith,” said Mtambo, former chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition.
He has further regretted the violence that marred the Wednesday court-stopped anti-judiciary protests, saying the demonstration organizers needed to be law abiding in the wake of the granted injunction.
Meanwhile, Police in Kawale have arrested 52 more suspects for allegedly looting shops and warehouses in Biwi, Chipasula and Area 22 in Lilongwe locations on the night of July 20 2022.
This brings the number of suspects in police custody due to looting and damage of property to close to 140.
Mabvuto Phiri, Kawale Police spokesperson said the 52 were arrested as they destroyed property belonging to businessmen and blocking Chidzanja road, smashing vehicles and robbing motorists.
“Two ambulances, one from Bwaila hospital and the other from St John of God hospital were among the vehicles that were smashed,” said Phiri.
He added that some suspects targeted warehouses, cosmetic shops stealing anything within their reach.
Among the stolen items were motor vehicle engine parts, tyres, farm produce, car batteries, phone accessories and cellphones.
The suspects age group ranges from 22 years to 52 years old.
Meanwhile the 52 will be appearing in court soon to answer charges of malicious damage, theft and breaking into a building and committing a felony therein, according to Phiri.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :