The acting Inspector General (IG) of Police Duncan Mwapasa has summoned police officers assigned to the Vice President Saulos Chilima after they used live bullets to shoot in Machinga on Friday when political violence reared its ugly head again ahead of fresh presidential elections.
Chilima, who is UTM Party president and Tonse Alliance running mate, travelled to Nselema in Machinga to conduct a rally there but things turned ugly on his way to the venue as suspected United Democratic Front (UDF) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) functionaries blocked Bakili Muluzi Highway around Nselema.
Speaking in an audio that is circulating on WhatsApp, an eyewitness reports that people prevented Chilima from proceeding to the venue of the rally in revenge that Chilima has been insulting Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi.
The area is Muluzi’s home and the former president is openly supporting President Mutharika’s re-election bid.
In the ensuing fracas, Chilima’s bodyguard sprayed bullets, shooting two people who were battling for their lives and injuring others.
One of the people which the bodyguard shot was innocently on his way to the Mosque for prayers, the eyewitness said.
And there are pictures circulating on social media of another young man and a woman battling for their lives after sustaining bullet wounds.
The woman is in full UDF colours and it is reported she was on her way to a party rally in the area.
According to the eyewitness after the incident, the community mobilized to retaliate the shooting.
Chilima cancelled the tour to evade clashes.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Police IG Mwapasa said the bodyguards are police officiers and will be summoned to explain their actions.
“They will be called to be accountable for their actions,” he said.
Chilima’s press secretary Pilirani Phiri took to Twitter: “Political violence rears its ugly face again in Machinga. VP Chilima has cancelled his whistle-stops at Ngokwe and Ntaja after DPP/UDF thugs armed with pangas blocked the road at Nselema… To avoid confrontation, cancellation was option 1.”
UDF leader Atupele Muluzi comes from the area where the fracas occurred and is running mate to President Mutharika took to Facebook to condemn political violence.
Atupele said he has information with regards to what transpired in Machinga and regretted the shooting saga.
“As much as the incident is unfortunate, live ammunition should never be used on the population. A woman and a child were shot at today. Wishing them both speedy recovery,” he said.
Just last week Tonse Alliance members in Liwonde and Phalombe were attacked alongside some private media personnel covering the campaign trail after their vehicle was smashed.
And irate Mponela residents in central region district of Dowa burnt tyres on the road, blocking DPP/UDF running mate Atupele on his whistle stop tour to Kasungu en-route to the Northern Region.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :