Mzimba HRDC Protests Turn Nasty

Mzimba Demonstrations: Begun peacifully Mzimba Demonstrations: Begun peacifully pic by Vanani Nyirenda

There were running battles between police and demonstrators in Mzimba after a third attempt by the protesters to seal council offices were thwarted by the law enforcers on apparent instruction from the regional commissioner for the Northern region.

The protesters want the council offices sealed on account of alleged corrupt practices.

Monday, police fired teargas to disperse the angry protesters and went as far as detonating teargas canisters in residential areas almost the whole afternoon.

“The demonstrators were regrouping in residential areas and pelting stones at the police so the police went into the residential areas,” said one resident of Mzimba boma.

Among other issues, the protesters, led by the Mzimba chapter of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRD- are questioning dubious allocation of plots to council officials, K20m the council is alleged to have received to give land to a company wishing to put up a gas station and the alleged disappearance of K52m DDF funds.

The protesters also want some traffick police officers to stop demanding K10,000 in fees from taxi operators every Monday and that council should improve earth roads.

All hell broke loose when in the course of discussions, police, allegedly acting on orders from the regional commissioner, barred protesters from sealing the offices.

In the course of the fracas, demonstrators broke window panes for police houses.

Mzimba HRDC chapter chairperson, Teckson Amadu, says despite failing to seal the council offices protesters were satisfied that they at least delivered their petition.

“We are sure that they will sit down and start addressing the issues which we have presented,” he said insisting that the solution is to transfer some lands directors and other officers for what alleged incompetence in implementing development projects.

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