Former president’s son arrested in Malawi

Atupele Muluzi

Lilongwe – The son to former Malawi president Atupele Muluzi, has been arrested, government and UDF officials have confirmed. The young Muluzi who is aspiring the country’s presidency under the banner of the former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), a party which his father led between 1993 and 2009 was arrested at around noon as he was driving to Blantyre from Lilongwe where he had gone to conduct several political rallies. Ndanga, the deputy publicity secretary of the UDF faction that supports Muluzi confirmed the arrest. . Ndanga said the young Muluzi was stopped at a police check-point 15 kilometres from the Lilongwe city. “He was bundled into a police Land Cruiser and taken to Lilongwe Police Station,” he said. The publicist said the 34 year old UDF parliamentary spokesman was later transferred to a holding cell at Lumbadzi Police Station, 25 kilometres away from the city. In a related development police arrested two other suspects for arson after running battles with police on Sunday as the law enforcers tried to break a rally by the UDF parliamentarian in the city. “We are still investigating what happened last Sunday,” Police spokesman Dave Chingwalu said.

Angry residents of the densely-populated Area 24 township in Lilongwe on Sunday ran riot after police fired teargas to disperse a crowd that had gathered at a public rally to be addressed by the youthful politician. They smashed and torched a police station where a rifle was stolen and several remanded prisoners were released. A police vehicle was also smashed and torched. The violence spilled over to Monday when gangs of youths raided houses of police officers in the area. Families of some police officers are currently seeking refuge at the Police Mobile Force post in the city. The ruling DPP has accused Muluzi and UDF supporters of causing the violence. “Police did not allow Hon. Atupele Muluzi’s meetings to go ahead because the security situation in the city was volatile,” said Presidential spokesman Heatherwick Ntaba. “He acted with impunity and went ahead with his rallies and when police wanted to enforce law and order his supporters ran riot.” Ntaba said as a lawyer Muluzi was supposed “to respect the law even if he doesn’t like it”. However, Muluzi earlier said the rallies were lawful because he had notified the police. “The law doesn’t say we should seek permission to hold meetings from police, it also says we should inform them of our plans to hold meetings which we did,” he said.

Muluzi accused the police of provoking the people by tear gassing them despite nobody causing any trouble. Muluzi is fighting for presidential support in the UDF despite other members accusing his father of using him to get back to power. However, the youthful politician has distanced himself from his father saying he is old enough to make his own decisions. The camp that does not recognise Muluzi’s aspirations say he (Muluzi) is too young to rule the party as well as the nation. The UDF governed Malawi for ten years under his father. It also won the third multiparty election in 2004 after the elder Muluzi handpicked President Bingu wa Mutharika who later dumped it to found his own Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)

© 2012, Charles Mkula. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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