Malawi’s ruling People’s Party (PP) and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) supporters in Balaka on Sunday clashed in a fracas that left some people injured after PP supporters were accused of removing UDF party flags.
The incident happened before the country’s renowned musician Lucius Banda held his political rally at Mbera Trading Centre in Balaka North Constituency.
The parties blamed each other for the fracas with Balaka UDF district governor Ronald Mnopemnope claiming PP supporters started the brawl.
Mnopemnope said they erected party flags from Balaka town to Mbera Trading Centre in readiness for a rally that was to be addressed by Banda who has expressed interest to reclaim his Balaka North Constituency seat.
“PP supporters came in a vehicle and uprooted all UDF flags along the way. We then responded to protect party material and clashed with them. We ended up in stoning and fighting each other,” said Mnopemnope.
However, PP parliamentary aspirant for the area, Tony Ngalande, who is also the party’s national second deputy director of social services, claimed UDF supporters uprooted PP flags and replaced them with theirs.
“This angered our supporters and they reacted to the same and that is why the whole fracas broke out,” said Ngalande.
Balaka Police spokesperson Joseph Sauka said he was aware of the incident, but said they could not follow the matter because no one reported it to police.
During the rally, Banda, who lost his seat after he was convicted of possessing a fake Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), told his followers that he will reclaim his seat on a UDF ticket.
Gertrude Maseko is the incumbent parliamentarian after she beat Banda’s wife, Sunganani, during the 2009 polls.
Ngalande will contest as PP candidate after he was recognised at a recent government function addressed by President Joyce Banda in the district.