Business came to a standstill along the M1 Road section between Lilongwe City Centre and Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) for about two hours as hundreds of people and scores of vehicles blocked the road to the airport when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) acting president Peter Mutharika returned home on Sunday.
Mutharika’s arrival at around noon was full of drama right from the airport where initially the DPP leader was scheduled to address the press and members of his party.
Singing supporters invaded the airport grounds, forcing police to stop the scheduled news conference and the rally. They ordered that instead the rally be held outside the airport premises at Magwero Primary School ground, about eight kilometres from KIA.
“We have been instructed that the rally should not be held here and instead be moved somewhere,” one of the senior police officers manning the VIP lounge told the DPP leaders who included party vice-president Jean Kalilani.
Earlier, the security personnel had blocked the entrance to the VIP lounge, allowing only six officials to get in as they said that the lounge would also be used by the First Gentleman Richard Banda who was leaving the country later on Sunday.
The drama then moved to the M1 Road which was turned into a DPP roadshow as the party supporters, most of them clad in the party’s blue colours with the portrait of the former president Bingu wa Mutharika, and a convoy stretching almost half a kilometre formed a carnival.
More drama followed as the convoy approached the venue of the rally after a convoy which had earlier escorted the First Gentleman to the airport almost submerged into the DPP convoy.
Addressing the crowd at the school ground, Mutharika expressed concern over the current drug crisis, saying it was a surprise that the country has found itself in such a situation when only in December, the nation was assured that donors had given money meant to purchase drugs.
“My question is where has that money gone? If anyone has misused that money, be assured that we will follow up to establish who that one is,” he said.
Mutharika also conveyed condolence messages to the families of those who have died due to the drug crisis as well as those who have died due to floods that have recently hit some parts of the country.
He also urged DPP supporters and all members to be united and work together, saying that is the only way the party can register victory in the 2014 elections and go back into government.