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Minister Gwengwe Accused of Shielding Violent Burundians at Mitundu Trading Centre

BY WATIPASO MZUNGU

Gwengwe: He is also married to a Burundian

The Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, has reacted angrily to accusations that he is shielding businesspersons of Burundian origin who incited violence the led to the torching of a vehicle belonging to Chibuku Products Limited at Mitundu Trading Centre recently.

The accusations follow revelations that the police are failing to effect arrests on Burundians, four weeks after the incident. On or around 24 September 2020, court marshals invaded Areas 23, 25, Kauma, Chinde and Mitundu Trading Centre on a mission to seize smuggled goods, including the counterfeit Chibuku Super from Zambia.

According to the marshals, the Burundian businessman was stocking 400 cases of the counterfeit Chibuku Super. At the time of the operations, the wife was manning the shop who rang the husband.

When the husband came, he mobilised loafing youths to manhandle the court marshals and the team from Chibuku Products Limited who were travelling in a three-tonne truck.

The stoning forced police to shoot in the air to disperse the mob. Several gunshot were fired till the police had run out of the bullets. The situation got worse as the mob descended on the team, vehicle and the team ran for their dear lives.

“The wife of the Burundi in the last shop pelted stones at one of the police officer, which is pure obstruction of enforcement of the court order by the couple. As the mob kept chasing the team and the 3 toner, they reached a point where the CPL vehicle got safely parked and descended on it. The team then drove to Area 3 police to seek intervention for ant riot police so that they cud rescue the CPL pickup which had been surrounded by an angry mob. Mitundu officers did not come to their colleagues rescue,” said one of the court marshals in an interview on Wednesday.

The marshal disclosed that Gwengwe was informed about the incident in his capacity as the Minister of Trade, which is championing the seizure of smuggled products in collaboration with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), the police and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.

But to the surprise of many, the police have not yet arrested anyone in connection to the criminal activity.

This has prompted some residents at Mitundu Trading Centre to suspect that Gwengwe could be protecting the Burundian family because he is also married to a Burundian.

“It’s over four weeks since the incident happened, but the police have not made any arrests. We believe the minister blocked the police from enforcing law on his in-laws having married a Burundian,” said the marshal.

But in reaction, Gwengwe said “Don’t glorify rubbish. Have you talked with Homeland Security yet?” The Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda, did not pick his phone when Malawi Voice tried to get his comments.

The Officer-In-Charge for Lilongwe Police Station, Mabvuto M’bobo, refused to comment on the matter, preferring to refer it to the public relations officer who simply asked for more time.

Residents at Mitundu Trading Centre in Lilongwe have accused the Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, of shielding businesspersons of Burundian origin who incited violence

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