BLANTYRE--As Malawians mark one year after July 20, Pres Joyce Banda has said it is not witch hunting for people deemed to have broken the law during the seminal anti-government demonstrations to face the law.
"I didn't set up the Commission of Inquiry," she said during the launch of a fistula centre at Bwaila Hospital in the capital, Lilongwe, Thursday. "Those who set up the Commission should not be the first to say it is witch-hunting."
Banda was apparently referring to a statement by former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Nicholas Dausi who condemned the arrest of DPP Youth Cadets who wielded panga knives on the streets of Blantyre on the eve of the demonstrations.
DPP Youth Director Lewis Ngalande and several others were rounded up this week and charged with intimidation, obstructing traffic, possession of offensive weapons and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Tens of DPP Youth Cades, the party's youth wing, on July 19 last year rode in DPP branded blue pick-up vehicles wielding panga knives vehicles and chanting war chants like "Onyoza a Ngwazi Sagona Timpweteka" ("Those Who Ridicule the Ruler Won't Sleep, We'll Harm Them").
Dausi described the arrests as "handcuff politics", accusing the Peoples Party administration of targeting the group following the mammoth rally their presumptive candidate Prof. Peter Mutharika commanded over the weekend.
But Banda said the Commission of Inquiry into the July 20 events set up by late President Mutharika recommended prosecution for those deemed to have broken the law.
"Let's not jump at making statements, if there are people who broke the law let the law take its course," President Joyce Banda
"Let's not jump at making statements, if there are people who broke the law let the law take its course," she said.
Sources say a number of politicians and police officers are lined up for arrest and prosecution following the inquiry report.
At least 19 people were gunned down by police after police used live ammunition to break up unprecedented nationwide demonstrations protesting against the Mutharika regime's worsening economic, political and human rights situation.
Meanwhile, Pres Banda will Friday lead the nation at events marking the day in the northern city of Mzuzu which recorded the majority of the killings.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.