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My govt won’t tolerate violence – Banda

18 March 2014, 21:50

Blantyre - Malawi's president on Monday said clashes between opposition protesters and police that left two people dead following an election rally were "politically motivated" and called for a thorough investigation.

"My government will not tolerate such acts of political violence to destabilise the peaceful management of elections and to threaten the peace and security of our people," Banda said in a statement.

"This barbaric act was politically motivated. All those that are directly or indirectly involved should face the wrath of the law."

Violence erupted on Sunday shortly after an election rally led by President Joyce Banda at Goliyati village in a stronghold of her rival Peter Mutharika of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

A police officer was axed to death and a protester was shot dead in clashes with stone-throwing opposition activists after police fired tear gas to disperse the hostile crowd.

The protester was killed when police fired into the crowd in what a police spokeswoman described as "self defence".

The poor southern African country heads to the polls on May 20 for presidential, parliamentary and local elections.

Protesters' stones hit within 100 metres of the podium where Banda and senior party officials were sitting, presidential spokesman Steven Nhlane said.

Banda said she was "saddened by the killing of a police officer who was enforcing peace, calm, law and order".

Banda, previously vice president, came to power in 2012 following the sudden death of president Bingu wa Mutharika.

She faces three prominent contenders including Peter Mutharika, a young brother of the late president, in the May elections.



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