Irate Lilongwe City Council (LCC) workers yesterday downed tools and thronged Lilongwe First Grade Magistrate’s Court to give moral support to three workmates who are on trial over office squabbles.
Head driver Gift Mkandawire, assistant director of finance Jane Mtawali and fire officer John Mbwelera were arrested after LCC mayor Desmond Bikoko alleged that K1.2 million went missing from his official car which a group of workers had detained during the squabbles last week.
The workers sealed the mayor’s office last week, threatening to manhandle him. It took the intervention of police officers, who whisked away Bikoko in another vehicle from the mayoral offices, to calm the situation.
Mkandawire, who is the mayor’s chauffer, was charged with theft and conduct likely to cause breach of peace while Mtawali and Mbwelera were charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
But trial did not start as both Bikoko and prosecution witnesses did not show up. The court has since adjourned the case to September 14 this year.
After the adjournment, the workers retreated to the nearby Town Hall for a meeting and prayers for their accused colleagues, who are on bail.
Representative of the workers Wyson James, who is a shop steward and an executive member of the council’s staff workers’ union, said they will morally support the accused.
He said: “If it is suffering, then we will also sacrifice to suffer. We came here at the court in solidarity to express our displeasure over the arrest of our colleagues.”
When we tried to interview Bikoko on why he did not turn up for the court case, he did not pick our calls despite several attempts.