Dozens of masked, panga-carrying men on Thursday caused problems at the end of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC)-led demonstrations in Blantyre when they attacked people in a vehicle that was used in ferrying a public address (PA) system and burnt the car along the Sanjika Road in Blantyre.
The ‘thugs for hire’, known as the Nyaphaphi gang, were ferried in trucks by unknown organisers before the demonstrations to be on the lookout on those whose conduct would have breached the peace in the city.
However, as the demonstration ended peacefully, the rough necks chased people who were in the vehicle used in ferrying a PA system, beat them up and some with pangas before torching the car.
The brazen assaults and torching of the vehicle took place near the residence of a prominent opposition figure.
HRDC chairperson (South) Masauko Thawe said the owner of the vehicle reported the matter to police.
Thawe, however, said those who burnt the vehicle are on jealousy and full of hatred.
During the march, some protesters chanted anti-Jane Ansah songs while others were seen dancing to songs that were playing on a PA system on an open van trailing them.
HRDC national chairperson Timothy Mtambo said the human rights body had planned three demonstrations in January to continue with their demand for Jane Ansah’s resignation as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, protest police alleged rape of Msundwe women and the stealing of minerals in Chitipa.
Mtambo said another demonstration is slated for January 27 in Chitipa to force government to act against illegal foreign miners in Itulo.
Meanwhile, Chancellor College-based political analyst Ernest Thindwa has said violent demonstrations are a function of numerous variables ranging from organisation competence of organisers and security agents, political culture and climate to intentions of participants in demonstrations, security agents and authorities among other determinants.
University of Livingstonia political analyst George Phiri and Mzuzu-based political analyst Emily Mkamanga aobserved that the demonstrations are “still relevant.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :