Unidentified people jeered and pelted President Peter Mutharika’s motorcade with stones in Ndirande Township in Blantyre last evening after presenting his nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for the July 2 fresh presidential election.
Mutharika, presidential candidate for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and his running mate Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF), were on a joint parade in the township, according to video footage that went viral on social media.
A trader at Ndirande Market corroborated the contents of the video and audio clips, saying the incident happened as the police lead vehicle (sweeper) approached the market area from Chimseu direction.
In one of the video clips, people were seen blocking the road and chanting “Pitala asadutse! [No through road for Peter Mutharika]” and “Achoke! Pitala achoke! [Peter Mutharika, leave office!]” as the convoy of cars was passing through the township.
Another witness claimed police fired tear gas on the protesters as the situation was quickly getting out of hand.
But in an interview last evening, presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani said he did not notice the said ugly scenes and that the presidential motorcade was intact.
He said: “I am not sure of your inquiry as I was at the very back of the motorcade, with the President. Perhaps that happened to the cars of party supporters who had gone earlier before us; something which I have no knowledge of.”
However, Kalilani said the tour did not go according to plan because it was getting dark; hence, the President changed routes to return to Sanjika Palace.
He said both Mutharika and Muluzi addressed people around Ndirande Market.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera asked for more time as he said he was yet to be furnished with official communication while Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi asked to be called later, but he was unreachable.
Ironically, the development comes barely a day after Tonse Alliance supporters, led by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party presidents Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima, respectively, enjoyed a warm welcome from the township.