Malawi: Police Arrest 18 MCP Cadres Over Post-Election Violence

MCP Vice President Sidik Mia and his wife Abida leading a march (file photo)

Malawi Police say they have arrested 18 Malawi Congress Party (MCP) cadres, including a newly elected legislator, for post-election violence in Lilongwe and surrounding areas.

MCP MP-elect for Lilongwe City Centre Constituency Alfred Jiya: Arrested for allegedly inciting violence

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said the 18 MCP supporters who include newly elected Lilongwe city centre MP Alfred Jiya would be charged with inciting violence.

"We will continue arresting those organizing and involving in political violence," said Kadadzera.

Kadadzera also said the police did not know that the outgoing US ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer was at MCP headquarters in Lilongwe when the law enforcers sprayed teargas in the building - the US Embassy.

Palmer was bidding farewell to MCP president Lazarus Chakwera at the offices as her term of office has come to an end and will this month be going to Washington.

A statement from the United States Information Service said: "We can confirm that Ambassador Virginia Palmer went to the Malawian Congress Party (MCP) headquarters building, located next to the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe, on the morning of June 6, for a farewell meeting with Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, the President of the MCP.

"She has had similar meetings with senior Malawian government officials and leaders of the major political parties all week, as she prepares to depart Malawi."

The Embassy has also confirmed that Malawian police deployed tear gas to disperse MCP supporters at MCP head office while Ambassador Palmer was meeting with Chakwera.

"We confirm that she is safe and was in no danger," reads the statement.

The United States has since called for restraint on all sides while the High Court hears MCP's case and resolves electoral disputes.

"Malawi's democracy and peacefulness are critical to its international reputation and prosperity."

The police shot two persons in the fracas that erupted between the police and the MCP cadres.

MCP says the election results were manipulated in favour of president Peter Mutharika, an allegation denied by the Malawi Electoral Commission and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

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