19 June 2019

Malawi: Mutharika Forced to Change Route in Lilongwe - Police Spray Teargas to Disperse Protesters

Photo: Nyasa Times
President Peter Mutharika mortorcade.

President Peter Mutharika's security detail had to make last minute changes Wednesday on the route of the Head of State following a fracas in the capital city as police fired teargas to disperse protesters blocking the M1 main route into Lilongwe as Mutharika was due to enter the capital from from Mangochi.

President Mutharika entered Lilongwe by a different route Protests erupted in Malawi following Mutharika's election victory, mainly in Lilongwe which is the power base of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which has claimed there were irregularities

Mutharika had a week-long stay in Mangochi, where, among other things, he held what the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) dubbed victory rally.

Mutharika managed to dodge the M1 road and used the Nacala corridor bypass road as angry supporters believed to be opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) faithful erected a makeshift roadblock using burning tyres.

They were also pelting the police with stones.

In retaliation, the police used teargas to disperse the crowd and this caused a lot of commotion and disrupted businesses, according to eye witness a journalist Lameck Masina.

MCP and UTM have gone to court to challenge the outcome of the presidential polls.

In the end, the president entered Lilongwe by a different route, his spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said "the decision as to which route to use is made by the police.

Kalilani said the head of state was safely at Kamuzu Palace and named his Cabinet.

Police spokesman James Kadadzera declined to comment on the matter.

Mutharika left Lilongwe for Malawi's second city, Blantyre, prior to May 21 elections and stayed there for his swearing in ceremony days later.

Wednesday was his first trip to Lilongwe since the vote, ahead of opening parliament on Friday.

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