On a gloomy Friday morning at Lilongwe main market commonly known as “Ku Mpanipani” in Lilongwe, grieving faces mainly of women who mourned in the event of great loss to fire of merchandize and property valued millions of Kwacha had for a moment ceased to shed tears when the National Director of Women who is also Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Patricia Kaliati alighted at the scene to comfort them.
Walking on foot from the robots near the main mosque into the crowded Devil street, Kaliati’s face could not hide shock and disbelief when cast her eyes on burnt remains at a place where stood a set of hawkers that used to sell assorted items ranging from jewelry and cosmetics to food stuffs of all kinds.
A few steps ahead Kaliati and her team couldn’t make it further due to the burning remains that kept burning for hours on end and had posed great danger to any mortal including the Minister on a comforting mission.
There was no possible way to get inside, security personnel had warned before advising the compassionate Kaliati to opt for an alternative route through the length of Devil Street to a spot where a brick fence had collapsed. From this angle she could at least have a partial view a what kind of damage the treacherous inferno had on what was once a mighty and most crowd market place in the Capital City of Malawi.
“My fellow women and all you hard working Malawians, you are not alone
and all has not be lost because at least you have life so be strong
and face life with courage,” Kaliati told the victims before refusing
to give an interview to the media and only managed to say: “I have
mainly come to comfort these women who work so hard in order to
survive, with some of them taking loans and here they have lost
everything that they worked for.
Earlier before the arrival of Kaliati, there were running battles
between the police and some small groups of people who started to
throw stones at vehicles that made their way through nearby
Malangalanga road. Some onlookers had described them as thieves who
didn’t like the presence of police so that they could continue looting
having taken advantage of gutting fire.
Meanwhile, the cause of the fire is not yet known. However, the police
have said that they have intensified their investigations into the
matter to identify the root cause of the inferno.
Mpanipani market is second large market in Lilongwe to have lost
heavily to the fire accident following the gutting of Soka Market some