Police in Malawi fire teargas at anti-government protesters

BLANTYRE-Malawi police on Friday fired teargas to quell an anti-government protest over alleged corruption and economic mismanagement by President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the southern city of Blantyre to demand that Chakwera’s administration act on its election promises that included creating 1 million jobs and ending hunger.

“We are into the second year and there are still no jobs. The promise of three meals a day has failed to materialise, and instead, prices of fuel, food and cooking oil have skyrocketed,” Bonny Kalindo, a former legislator who led the protests, told Reuters.

Friday’s protests turned violent as a pro-government group also moved in to stop the march across the city, a Reuters correspondent said. Some businesses and government buildings were closed as a result.

Government and police spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.

Chakwera in June 2020 unseated former leader Peter Mutharika in a re-run election after he pledged to curb corruption and rebuild the ailing economy.

Soaring food prices have raised concerns about social unrest in some countries, as consumers struggle with a higher cost of living in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malawi’s consumer price inflation rose to 9.8% year on year in October from 8.9% in September.

The United Nations food agency said earlier this month that world food prices reached a 10-year peak in October, led by increases in cereals and vegetable oils.