The Malawi police in the lakeshore district of Mangochi are keeping in custody two men who are suspected to have assaulted UTM party supporters, including stripping half-naked 34-year-old Veronica Katanga, on Sunday.
The suspects, who are from Mtagaluka Village, Traditional Authority Chowe, have been identified as 28-year-old Adam Masitala and 38-year-old Rajab Assan.
The suspects will be charged with counts of insulting the modesty of a woman and robbery.
Katanga’s husband has reportedly deserted her after being embarrassed by the attack, which has triggered national furore.
Malawi Police Service (MPS) national spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said they expect to make more arrests in connection with the attacks.
“As police, we are very much concerned with cases of political violence in the country. We want to assure Malawians that we will be vigilant in protecting all Malawians without looking at their political affiliation,” he said.
Kadadzera said they are also investigating people who are behind the assault of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) supporter, Edward Govati, in Kanjedza Township, Blantyre, on Monday.
“Although MCP did not report the matter to us, we have identified officers to record a statement from the victim and start investigations so as to arrest those behind the attack,” he said.
United Democratic Front (UDF) however gave MPS a seven-day ultimatum to arrest people who assaulted the UTM supporters in Mangochi.
UDF Eastern Region vice-president, Lilian Patel, said this Wednesday during a press conference she held alongside the party’s deputy national organising secretary, Andrew Nkhana, in Mangochi Wednesday.
Patel said they are saddened that the attackers are being linked to UDF, a development which has prompted the party to demand that the police and National Intelligence Bureau should identify the culprits.
After the seven days, Patel said UDF would mobilise its women and petition President Peter Mutharika and Inspector General (IG) of police, Rodney Jose, to move them to act against violence perpetrators.
In a related development, Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese of the Catholic Church Wednesday urged Mutharika to speak against the politically motivated acts of violence ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The country has witnessed a spate of political attacks, where Mulanje-South Member of Parliament and UTM youth director Bon Kalindo and Malawi Congress Party supporter Edward Govati have been assaulted.
Women from several political parties have also given Mutharika and the police an ultimatum to end the attacks of the opposition party followers.
Msusa made the remarks when he launched a two-year partnership between Catholic Women Organisation and Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (Teveta) aimed at training catholic women in the Southern Region in various areas.