In Malawi, the police say Atupele Muluzi, a Member of Parliament and son of former President Bakili Muluzi, has been charged with inciting violence after he was arrested Tuesday.
The 34-year-old Muluzi is also a 2014 presidential aspirant in the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) party. Police spokesman David Chingwalu said Muluzi is still being interrogated after he “arrogantly” defied a police commissioner’s order to postpone a rally over the weekend.
The opposition leader’s supporters burned down a Lilongwe police unit and destroyed cars parked near the station after they clashed with security officials at an anti-government rally on Sunday.
Chingwalu blames Muluzi for the destroyed police property.
“If he had complied with what the district commissioner has said, all these things wouldn’t have happened,” said Chingwalu. “We believe that these people [supporters] did this because of his arrogance. That is why they went ahead stoning the police and also burnt down the police station.”
Chingwalu said it is a criminal offence under the police act for anybody to defy a police order.
“The district [police] commissioner asked him to postpone the meeting till the next week-end, but he defied the decision and went ahead to conduct the rally,” said Chingwalu. “He was arrogant… so since he was the one who caused all this violence, he has been arrested to answer charges that are being leveled against him.”
Several opposition parties have condemned Muluzi’s arrest saying it is a political move to silence critics of President Bingu Wa Mutharika’s administration, an assertion police spokesman Chingwalu denies.
“This is a professional police service that works independently without being ordered by any political party,” said Chingwalu. “Muluzi has been arrested because he has committed a criminal offense like any other person who has committed this offense, and he will be taken to court as the law says.”
Chingwalu said the police plan to arrest opposition supporters who destroyed police property.
“We are investigating further so that we can also arrest some other people who part in this violence. In fact we have also managed to arrest several of them apart from Muluzi himself,” said Chingwalu.