Written by YAMIKANI SIMUTOWE
BLANTYRE—Police officers on Monday used teargas canisters to disperse civil servants, who downed tools last week for better perks, from the premises of the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs dubbed ‘Freedom Park’.
Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) president Eliah Kamphinda Banda described the development as very “unfortunate and detrimental” considering that the disgruntled government employees have been clustering at the premises peacefully.
“I can confirm that we briefly engaged the police in running battles because the police came to disturb us. They came to disperse us from the Freedom Park; they used teargas, but we are not relenting on the strike,” Kamphinda Banda said.
Unconfirmed reports coming from the capital Lilongwe indicate the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) officials have also joined the strike.
“We are responsible people, but the conduct of police officers is provocative. Otherwise we gather here for peacefully, and we don’t want be disturb or infuriated by the police officers,” he added.
The CSTU president further said they are contemplating holding peaceful demonstrations Wednesday.
“We have already started engaging relevant authorities. Ideally we want to meet the president herself in person,” he said.
Earlier, Kamphinda Banda said civil servants in the districts are expected to join the strike this week and they will be gathering at the offices of the district commissioner.
“Health workers and employees of the Civil Aviation department will join the strike in the next few days,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, there is heavy presence of armed police officers at the Capitol Hill compared to last week when the civil servants started clustering at the premises.
(c) The Maravi Post 2013