Escalating petrobombing threatens Malawi security

Cases of petrol bombing houses of coordinators of Malawi’s post-election protests and other government opponents are escalating , with commentators warning the incidents posses security threat to the country.

Three petrol bomb incidents alleged to have been masterminded by the ruling party took place within a period of two weeks but police have not arrested anyone in connection with the incidents.

Recently Unknown people petrol-bombed main opposition Malawi Congress Party-MCP Director of Campaign Moses Kunkuyu’s vehicle in the wee hours of today.

The incident happened at his home in Blantyre.

Speaking in an interview, Kunkuyu said the people were targeting several vehicles but left hurriedly after a guard noticed the fire and raised an alarm.

The incident comes a few hours after a series of similar incidents which have occurred in the past weeks.

It was followed by another petrol-bomb attack on a house at Timothy Mtambo’s Ishalikila Village, in area of Traditional Authority-T/A Mwabulambia, in Chitipa district near the border with Tanzania.

Mtambo is Chairperson of Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRDC, a grouping which has been organizing country-wide demonstrations aimed at forcing Chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission-MEC Justice Jane Ansah to resign for allegedly messing up the May 21 Tripartite elections.

A fortnight ago, some unknown people also petrol-bombed Mtambos house in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.

Jackson Msiska , a political and social commentator said the inconveniences are a clear indication that the country’s international security is not safe.

He said if not managed properly, such incidents would influence people to resort to mob justice against the perpetrators.

“In my view, this is a clear indication that there are security lapses in Malawi, and this is dangerous on part of the government because it sends a bad signal to the citizens and international community,” said Msiska.

He urged authorities to distance the police from partisan politics, and discipline the allegedly ruling party thugs attacking critical voices.

“You will agree with me that the public has completely lost trust in the police due to their involvement in partisan politics. This is why people resort to violence during protests and the police can not control the situation because people have a negative image against them,” he added.

During the recent protests, people undressed a woman police spy who was among the marchers and destroyed several police officers houses in the capital Lilongwe.

The demonstrators demand resignation or firing of the Malawi Electoral Commission Jane Answer, whom they accuse of rigging the May elections in favour of President Peter Mutharika.

But last week Mutharika described the protests as illegal, and that they intended to overthrow his government. He then directed the military and police to use necessary force to stop the protests.

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