Police ready to prosecute Ben Phiri attackers

Malawi Police has indicted they are ready to prosecute former ruling People’s Party (PP) youth leaders on allegations that they attacked Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of field operations Ben Phiri.

Blantyre Police spokesperson Elizabeth Divala said two PP officials have since been arrested and they can face charges while officer “continue with investigations into the matter.”

Divala said Police on Saturday arrested PP provincial youth secretary for South, Manfold Kaunda, and questioned him on his connection to the assault of Phiri.

Ben Phiri:  He identified as PP operatives who were led by the party’s youth director Lemani Chapitapansi.
Ben Phiri: He identified as PP operatives who were led by the party’s youth director Lemani Chapitapansi.

Kaunda is on bail.

First to be arrested was PP youth director for south Lemani Chapitapansi on allegations that he led a group of assailants who attacked Phiri.

Chapitapansi was formally charged in Blantyre Magistrate Court of assault.

He emphatically denied all charges.

Principal Magistrate Innocent Nedi granted Chapitapansi bail.

Phiri, who is also special assistant to President Peter Mutharika, was assaulted at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre on March 18 2014 and was admitted to hospital. He claimed to have lost K200 000 (US$491) in the process.

He alleged that he saw Chapitapansi – formerly a DPP youth leader – as one of his assailants.

Chapitapansi has protested his innocence and pledged to “see this through to the end”.

DPP has been blaming the PP that when it was in government is failed to arrest their youth director for the assault.

But PP spokesperson Ken Msonda claimed DPP is targeting its members in a crusade to purge them.

“President Mutharika’s offer of an olive branch was misplaced because the words are offered when a country is going through a civil war and Malawi is not. DPP cannot be trusted; Mutharika was offering an olive branch with one hand while holding a gun in the other,” claimed Msonda, adding Mutharika used former Palestinian leader Yassier Arafat’s phrase of “olive branch and a gun.”

He was referring to statement Mutharika made during his swearing-in ceremony that he was not harbouring any vengeance and was offering an olive branch to the former president Joyce Banda and other opposition parties’ leaders in order to build the nation together.

During the DPP regime two years ago, their rough necks were left scot free even when they attacked political opponents in full view of their leadership and police.

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