Rumphi chiefs warn protest organisers


Chiefs in Rumphi have told organisers of the Anti- Jane Ansah and Quota must fall protests to stop holding demonstrations in the district.

The development comes after a letter trending on social media showed that HRDC is planning to hold mass demonstrations in the district.

Protests against quota system last month

Recently, there was violence during demonstrations in Rumphi that saw shops being looted, police and teachers houses being destroyed and a number of businesses being affected.

Coordinator of the demonstrations in the district Moir Walita confirmed that he was summoned by the chiefs to stop demonstrations in the district on the basis that they were destructive and were costing people’s and  government property.

He said he was first called by acting paramount chief Chikulamayembe and later by Senior Chief Mwankhunikila.

They both expressed dissatisfaction over the demonstrations in the district and asked him if the demos could be stopped.

However Walita said the demonstrations cannot be stopped saying Rumphi district shares concerns that protesters in other areas have.

“If you talk of quota system, Rumphi district is one of the most affected districts. Learners here are suffering because of the system. Pupils are being deprived spaces in secondary schools and those that have passed MSCE are being denied spaces in public universities. So there is no way people here would allow to continue being victimized.

“About the demonstrations to do with elections, those are organized by HRDC leadership and I am only a member so I cannot stop them from conducting the demonstrations,” said Walita.

He added people will not stop the demonstrations as it is their constitutional right.

On the issue of property damage, Walita said there is need for the security agents to conduct themselves professionally.

Acting Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, Mtima Gondwe claimed he was not aware of the issue and refused to comment on the demonstrations.

However Senior Chief Mwankhunikila confirmed engaging organizers of the protests and the district council to put an end to the demonstrations.

He said in the first place chiefs expected that the demonstrations would be peaceful but the protesters are damaging government property and looting shops.

He added that innocent people are being affected by the demonstrations and there was need to stop holding demonstrations in the district.

According to Mwankhunikila, the chiefs have since initiated a meeting with several stakeholders to state their stand on the demonstrations.

Commenting on the letter, HRDC member Pano-Ndipondipo Chirambo said it’s true but the full program will be known soon.

“We are organizing the mother of all demos in Rumphi on Friday, we are going to provide transport from people surrounding the boma such as Phompha, Hewe, Bolero, and other places,” said Chirambo.

This comes after one police officer lost his life on Tuesday at Nsundwe in Lilongwe where angry residents blocked the Mchinji-Lilongwe road.