Protesters on Saturday descended on Football Association of Malawi’s Luwinga Technical Development Centre where they burned and caused extensive damage to the facility.
This comes barely a week after Football Association of Malawi (FAM) offered the facility to Ministry of Health to use it as a quarantine centre for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic patients.
In an interview on Saturday Mzuzu-based FAM second vice-president Othaniel Hara, confirmed the development, saying the incident happened after the police were overpowered.
“I have been to the scene. It’s not the burning of the facility as reported, but the inside of building has been badly vandalised, extensive damage—window panes broken some doors removed.
“The beds that were brought in by the Ministry of Health have been burnt down. They were very expensive beds the Ministry of Health can explain better.”
He said the demonstrators were protesting against the decision they had made to offer the facility to Ministry of Health in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Said Hara: “Just like Fifa we are equally affected that’s why we offered the facility to the Ministry of Health to use it as quarantine centre. It’s sad that the goodwill of FAM has not been welcomed by the community.
“We gave it to government and basically it is in the hands of government. But we will have a stakeholders meeting tomorrow [today] with Mzuzu Central Hospital director Dr Frank Sinyiza.”
But Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the ministry was not officially given the place for its operations.
“I was among those that attended the inspection of the place last week and we were waiting for official handover of the site from the FAM, therefore, we cannot comment on anything as if we are the owners of the place,” he said.
He further denied that the ministry had put beds and other materials in readiness for its operations.
When asked how it will affect the ministry’s operations Malango said they have not been affected as the incident has occurred before they started using the place.
Mzuzu Police Station deputy spokesperson Paul Tembo said irate community members damaged a police vehicle and injured some officers, apart from burning some equipment at the facility.
However he said no arrests have been done, but they have enforced patrol.—Additional reporting Wisdom Chirombo.