Business came to a standstill at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court where anti-riot police on Tuesday fired tear gas to disperse Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters who had blocked the main entrance to the court’s premises.
They were protesting against the arrest of DPP acting president Peter Mutharika and 10 others, who include Minister of Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe and former chief secretary to Malawi Government Bright Msaka.
During the commotion, DPP supporters stoned the police and damaged various properties, including Lilongwe District Council office window panes and a vehicle belonging to the council’s official.
Several cases which were up for hearing in other courts had to be cancelled.
Hundreds of DPP supporters gathered at the court where Mutharika, Msaka, Gondwe and eight others were expected to appear.
The eleven were arrested on Monday after the Commission of Inquiry Report on the death of late president Bingu wa Mutharika revealed a plot to circumvent the Constitution and stop then Vice-President Joyce Banda from ascending to power.
Despite the police cordoning off the court’s premises, some DPP members still dared to remain around the court to wait for the arrested individuals’ arrival. The supporters waited in vain as the arrested individuals did not appear in court.