United Democratic Front (UDF) members were “paying vigil and guarding” a campaign billboard for its presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi in the commercial city of Blantyre after reports that Blantyre City Council have received orders from government to pull it down.
UDF placed guards on all the places it has placed placards in the city of Blantyre.
A source has confided that a Blantyre City Council Chief Executive Officer, Ted Nandolo, away in India has ordered Costly Chanza who is acting on his behalf to make sure that the placards are removed.
But Chanza who is Director of Town Planning and Estates Services at the council is at pains as he sees no reason to get the placards removed as the party asked for permission and was granted and more so this is campaign period.
Ironically, it is Chanza’s department that scrutinizes such permits and he has all the reasons to advise the Office of President and Cabinet which is pressing for the removal of the placards, but his side of the story, according to our source, is not heard by Nandolo.
Last week, the council hired some men to remove a placard at stadium round about near Mozambique club to remove a placard of Atupele Muluzi, who is a torch bearer for UDF.
The party, though it had paid to a contracted advertiser, did not make any fuss over the removal of the placard on the understanding that the campaign period was not yet launched officially.
A political commentator in Blantyre wondered why the Council would stoop so low and remove the paid for advert in a campaign period in a democratic country when the ruling PP has billboards citing one in Kasungu of Minister of Defence Ken Kandodo and another in Rumphi of Enock Chihana.
UDF spokesman Ken Ndanga said the party is “dismayed” with what he called “provocation tactics” by governing PP.