Witness irks July 20 Commission, claims ‘genocide’

The July 20 Commission of Inquiry currently sitting in Mzuzu nearly went ballistics after a defiant and militant witness – Ipyana Thakomwa of Friends of Aford  group- engaged it in a debate by posing back questions instead of answering them.

“Why is it that people here in Mzuzu decided to go ahead with demonstrations before the injunction was even vacated when their colleagues in Blantyre and Lilongwe waited patiently?” Commissioner
James Naphambo asked.

“You cannot ask me about the legality of the Mzuzu demonstrations. Did you ask those Panga wielding DPP thugs who drove in the streets of Blantyre of July 19th if they were doing that legally or not,” a breathless Thakomwa said.

Thakomwa: Claims Tumbuka's were targetted

“It’s not your mandate to ask the Commission,” Commission’s Vice Chair Apostle Khoviwa.

Thakomwa, whose voice shook and vibrated during his testimony on Wednesday, told the Commission that the Mzuzu demonstrations were unique in that people showed displeasured for a government that is oppressing them.

“We have regional issues here that were not included in the 20 point-petition presented to President Bingu wa Mutharika. For instance, youths here feel the Chinese and Asians are grabbing business opportunities from them. In fact it was a message that we don’t want these people around,” he explained.

He cited other issues as the quota system of selecting students to public universities and rampant nepotism as practiced by the DPP led government.

On the Quota System, Reverend Mezuwa Banda agreed with Thakomwa in his later testimony saying the system is divisive and limits the very best of Malawians.


Thakomwa justified the looting and arson saying although it was not planned it was part of that long held anger by a multitude of jobless Malawian youths.

This forced Apostle Khoviwa to intervene cautioning Thakomwa that he was under oath and that the Commission was probing “a very serious matter in which people died and property was destroyed.”

“We are trying to put together facts here and a get a clear picture of what happened and I don’t see that seriousness in you,” Apostle Khoviwa said.

But Thakomwa continued with his tirade claiming that Police had indicated that they were going to deal with northerners (genocide).

“I heard one saying that Atumbuka mukuvutisa kwambiri. Lero tiku ombelani (Tumbuku are trouble makers , you will face gut shoots today) you And that was coming from Sergeant Ian Kanyama,” he said.

“So when eight people were killed I was not surprised because it seems the Police had already planned to kill [Tumbukas],” Thakomwa said.

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