How Winston Mwale remembers Malawi's July 20,2011 mass demonstrations

Lilongwe turned into some kind of war zone! Faluja, or Mosul-like, as running battles erupted between the police and some civilians around CCAP round about.

July 20, 2011

The day that will remain seared unto my mind forever.

I came face to face with death at the very hands of people who were brought in society to protect us‎: the police! I witnessed police brutality first hand on this day.

On 20 July, 2011,I was assigned to cover the demonstrations organised by some civil society organisations in the country.

( I was then working for privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station.)

My first destination was Area 3 police station where we gathered some organisers of the demos were being held.

I didn't find them there.

From the police station, I walked to the main bus depot in town.

Lilongwe was deserted---completely!

As I crossed Lilongwe bridge, I could hear some screams ahead, as police cars sped up the deserted road.‎

Like most journalists, I was on duty: to tell the world what was going on the day‎!

No sooner had I arrived at the Main Mosque than I got a dose of tear-gas fired by the trigger-happy policemen!

I ran for cover, but unfazed.

Lilongwe turned into some kind of war zone! Faluja, or Mosul-like, as running battles erupted between the police and some civilians around CCAP round about.

Sensing danger, all the journalists covering the event around town sought refuge inside the brick wall of the CCAP compound. That was the only safe haven in town for us.

Smoke bellowed everywhere in town, with ‎firefighting cars racing up and down, with Biwi Triangle burning!

While we got busy reporting, hell broke lose unexpectedly.

He's how Billy Mayaya, who was also seeking refuge at the place, remembers exactly what happened:

"Police jumped over the walls and started whipping us with clubs and machetes. ‎It took a phone call from Kondwani Munthali to IG Mukhito to stop the irate policemen from killing us. There is a God up there‎"

How we survived that devilish act is still a miracle up to now, when others were mowed down by the police.‎

Whenever I'm listening to the song by Joseph Hill, "Policeman", it reminds me of police brutality on that day!

Share