Malawian President accuses opposition leader of violence, issues arrest threats

LILONGWE, June 6 — Malawian President Peter Mutharika has accused the country’s main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader, Lazarus Chakwera, of perpetrating violence after the May 21 elections, warning that instigators of violence will face arrests.

Mutharika gave the warning in an address to the nation aired through the state broadcaster on Thursday night local time, following a series of protests and reports of looting and damaging of property in the capital.

“We have in the last few days seen Reverend Lazarus Chakwera and the Malawi Congress Party calling for violence and bloodshed in order to bring chaos in this country,” said Mutharika. “Any person inciting and perpetrating disorder will be arrested and brought to book to face justice.”

Mutharika said he had ordered the security agencies including the police and the army to protect innocent Malawians and their property.

He warned that anyone who perpetrates violence and disorder would be arrested.
On May 31 as Mutharika was sworn in for his second term, Chakwera announced at a press briefing that he was petitioning the country’s high court to nullify the May 21 presidential results saying the opposition had “overwhelming evidence that the polls were rigged.”

The opposition leader then ordered his party followers and “all Malawians of goodwill” to join the cause by conducting “peaceful demonstrations” in the country’s streets “until the court finalizes the case”.
Malawi police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed to local media Thursday that 18 MCP supporters, including the party’s parliamentarian, had been arrested in the capital “for inciting violence.” – XINHUA