MP, 18 others arrested over ‘tear gas fracas’

Police in Lilongwe yesterday arrested newly-elected Lilongwe City Centre parliamentarian Alfred Jiya and 18 other people in connection with election-related violence.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said in an interview yesterday the 19 will be charged with inciting violence and are expected to appear in court “as soon as paper work is complete.”

Police invaded Malawi Congress Party (MCP) headquarters around mid-morning yesterday where they fired tear gas to disperse party supporters who had gathered there.

According to Kadadzera, the arrests were made in different parts of the city.

He said: “The people have been arrested not only in Lilongwe City Centre, but also along Chinsapo and Mchinji roads where they incited violence.”

MCP supporters react to police action

MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka confirmed in an interview that some MCP supporters had been arrested, but he could not give exact numbers saying he was yet to get a report on the matter.

He, however, said two people got injured during the fracas at the party headquarters.

Freelance journalist George Ntonya runs for cover away from a tear gas-filled area

Said Mkaka: “I know there’s a person who got fired at by a tear gas canister on his ear and he sustained deep cuts. There is also a woman who was severely beaten by police. Both of them were rushed to the hospital.”

The MCP SG wondered why they were tear gassed by police without any provocation.

He said: “I was having meetings with party directors while our president Dr [Lazarus] Chakwera was in a meeting with US Ambassador [Virginia Palmer] when we suddenly saw that the all the offices were in tear gas.”

Mkaka added that the incident left many window panes of the building damaged alongside other party property. He, however, said  the extent of damage was yet to be assessed.

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