North too angry for demonstrations—priest

A Catholic Priest yesterday said people in the Northern Region are too angry to hold peaceful protests.

Father Eugene Ng’oma was commenting on mass protests to force Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah to resign after presiding over what the civil society and opposition term fraudulent elections.

The marches in the Northern Region have been marred by destruction of veterinary offices in Mzuzu, Karonga District Council offices and private shops and homes.

Veterinary offices up in smoke in Mzuzu

Speaking during a mass at St Peter’s Cathedral in Mzuzu, Ng’oma criticised the protestors for destroying buildings which serve them but said it is hard to control people who have felt oppressed for many years.

He said: “Even when the demonstrations are branded peaceful, people will always turn violent because they feel it is time to vent it out.

“You can’t take a very angry person to go and do a peaceful activity, so the North is not ready for peaceful demonstrations. I stand by what I say.”

Ngoma warned against tribalism, saying the demonstrations organised by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) are supposed to “unite Malawians and bail them out of their suffering”.

He asked: “If those were the kind of buildings government could build for you in all these decades, do you think after vandalising them or setting them on fire, they will build new ones?”

HRDC regional chairperson (North) Happy Mhango agreed with Ng’oma, but accused the police of being unprofessional during protests as was the case on July 20 2011 when armed police killed 10 people in Mzuzu.

He “People are really angry, but the problem is that the leaders have not been listening. 

“When the police fire teargas, people riot,” he said.

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