Demos turn violent in Mzuzu, LL: Japanese Embassy protests after Head Office pelted with stones

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Demonstrations aiming at forcing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson to resign turned violent in the Northern Region city of Mzuzu and in the Capital Lilongwe, with demonstrators damaging both public and private properties.

Chiputula Police Unit on fire Chiputula Police Unit on fire

Among the properties set on fire on Thursday were the ruling Democratic Party (DPP), Health Department offices, Mzilawaingwe Admarc and Chiputula Police, all in Mzuzu City.

 Attempts to burn down Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) offices in Mzuzu were foiled by the Malawi Defence Forces.

This was contrary to the situation in Blantye where protestors who walked from the Upper Stadium to Sanjika Palace before delivering their petition to Blantyre City Council, were largely peaceful.

While in Lilongwe, demands by protestors to proceed to present their petition right at the main gate of Kamuzu Palace were denied by the MDF.

The petition was received by the Presidential Advisor on Non-governmental Organisations Mavuto Bamusi at Four Seasons, over two kilometres away from Kamuzu Palace.

Bamusi received the petition under heavy military police escort.

However, there were noticeable scenes of violence in Lilongwe as well, with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) head office in City Centre, being pelted with stones by the protestors.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of Japan in the country has expressed “deep regret the attack” on JICA head offices.

“The Embassy is confounded with the development because JICA, as an implementing agency of Japanese Government funded development projects, is only in Malawi for goodwill to promote the Japan-Malawi partnership and is not party to any activities outside its development mandate,” reads in part a statement from the Embassy published on its ‘Embassy of Japan in Malawi’ Facebook Page, on Thursday afternoon.

The statement added: “The Embassy therefore wishes to urge the Government of the Republic of Malawi and the general public to ensure security of all Japanese people living in Malawi especially those that have committed themselves to working for enhanced and vibrant relations between our two countries.”

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