Unknown assailants at dawn yesterday torched a UTM Party branded vehicle at a lodge in Mangochi ahead of a political rally addressed by the party’s president Saulos Chilima.
This is the second time a UTM vehicle has been damaged by unknown assailants in the lakeshore district following a similar incident on the eve of the party’s launch in the Eastern Region last August.
In a telephone interview yesterday, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed receiving a report on the incident.
He said the Nissan Hardbody pickup registration CA 5617 belongs to Bernard Sande, who is UTM Party Eastern Region governor.
“I can confirm that we have received report that unknown people around 1am on Sunday went to Budget Lodge where they torched the vehicle,”said Kadadzera.
He said after the vehicle was torched, a security guard alerted other guests who were putting up at the lodge and they teamed up to put out the fire.
Reacting to the incident, UTM director of publicity Joseph Chidanti Malunga said he was surprised with the act. He alleged that the assailants were members of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
He said: “Without mincing words, these people are afraid of us. The more they do this devilish activity, the more they kindle our morale.”
But DPP publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi distanced his party from the allegations of arson, saying DPP is a peace-loving party.
He said: “No! No! No! That’s a total lie! DPP embraces all the pillars of democracy. Do you think we can do that?”
In August last year, two vehicles belonging to UTM members, a Nissan Hardbody registration NS 7932 and a Toyota Hilux registration NA 4112, were also smashed and set ablaze while parked at two separate lodges in the district.
Police are yet to arrest the assailants of the August incident.