One person, reportedly a member for MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ruling DPP, sustained head injuries during a fracas between UDF members and alleged DPP supporters who stoned Atupele MuluziÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s convoy at Bvumbwe in Thyolo on Sunday.
But Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba was on Monday reluctant to accept that Saiwala Kupinda, who was treated at Thyolo District Hospital, is a member of the party.
Police said, according to a caution statement recorded from Kupinda, the injured was a member of DPP who claimed was among those allegedly advised to block AtupeleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s convoy that was en route to Limbuli in Mulanje.
A hospital source also confirmed that police brought a person who was injured during the fracas.
Limbe Police spokesperson Chifundo Chibwezo said a file has been opened for charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the unknown after Kupinda complained that he was injured by UDF members who were escorting Muluzi.
Quoting the caution statement, Chibwezo said Kupinda was among acclaimed DPP members who were allegedly advised to mount a roadblock at 7 Miles, just before Bvumbwe Trading Centre from the Limbe direction, on the Limbe-Thyolo Road. According to the caution statement, she said the advice came from a senior DPP official only identified as Mr. Bvumbwe, to prevent Muluzi from proceeding to Thyolo.
Said Chibwezo: “But he [Kupinda] says police told them to remove the roadblock to which they obliged. But when the convoy was coming, he says they put rocks on the road which provoked the situation and the people in the company of Atupele Muluzi came out of their vehicles.
“This was the time when the DPP supporters started pelting the vehicles with stones and a fracas ensued and, in the process, Kupinda was injured in the head. But no UDF member was injured.”
ChibwezoÃ¢â‚¬â€who identified Kupinda as a businessperson at Goliati Trading Centre but comes from Mitabali Village, Traditional Authority Chimaliro in ThyoloÃ¢â‚¬â€said no person has been arrested in connection with the fracas and that investigations are underway.
UDF deputy publicity secretary Ken Ndanga said the party launched a complaint with police that they were ambushed by DPP youth cadets in full view of some law-enforcers.
But Ntaba said the information he has is that a vehicle organised by DPP to carry a party member to Thyolo District Hospital was stopped by people who were with Muluzi and that a “little fracas” erupted because people wanted to rush the patient for treatment.
Ntaba also wondered why police did not arrest the people who mounted the roadblock because that was irregular. He said the party wants to establish if indeed Kupinda is a DPP member because they do not want elements that tarnish the image of the party.
During the ambush of the convoy, witnessed by The Nation crew, MuluziÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s security detail had to shield his Mercedes Benz by driving on the right hand side of the road from where the stones were coming from.