By Joel Chirwa & Taonga Nyirenda – Mana.
Teargas billowed over Rumphi Trading Centre and nearby slums early afternoon Friday following running battles between Police and mobs of youth, who run amok.
The Youth who dispersed from Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) citizen rally wanted Northern Region Water Board Rumphi District Office, over alleged high water bills.
The Chaotic scenes which lasted for about one and half hour was characterized by running battles but did not result in serious property damage as Mzuzu based anti-riot Police from Police Mobile Service and local Police had stood guard over strategic potentially targeted areas.
Earlier in the day, business was at a virtue halt as shops, banks, bars, schools, offices remained closed.
Public transports were nowhere to be seen. The situation especially at the trading turned calm after Police had successfully dispersed the riotous youths.
The Violence occurred though organizers of the rally had persistently in their speeches asked the charged youth not to indulge into any violent conduct or break any private or public property.
“Whoever involved in any violent conduct after this rally or during this rally is not one of us. We will not even bother if you are arrested by Police,” HRDC Northern Regional Deputy Chairperson, Moir Walita Mkandawire warned.
He said the decision to thank the district citizenry emanated from the fact that they had taken a leading role or in the anti-Jane Ansah protests and for being peaceful following the annulment of May 21 Presidential Polls on February 3, 2020 by Constitutional Court.
“You know we have been conducting demonstrations demanding the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson, Dr. Jane Ansah in which the people of Rumphi strongly supported and participated.
“We have been together even in the course of legal battle at the Constitutional Court where the verdict went in favour of the petitioners,” he said.
Mkandawire took a swipe at Presidential Advisor; Francis Mphepo who he alleged had said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration would withdraw all developments from the northern region if the people there do not support the ruling party.
“The money that is used for development projects comes from tax payers coffers which the citizens of Rumphi contribute at the same time the funds for development is taken from national budget which is prepared by all Members of Parliament.
“We feel Mr. Mphepo is not fit to be the Presidential Advisor and we recommend to the president to fire him. At the same time we want all police officers who allegedly raped women and girls at Nsundwe to be brought to justice,” he said.