...heavy police presence in Blantyre
...uniformed, plain-clothed police officers all-about
Blantyre City Centre Market is closed for business today, save for traders who sell their goods and offer services outside the covered sections.
All the gates to the two covered sections- where clothers, books, fresh foods,groceries are sold- are closed and rocked.
But so are People's Trading Centre (PTC) shops. PTC suffered extensive damage during the July 20 demonstrations, to the extent that Lilongwe 'protesters' rooted and, finally, gutted down Kawale PTC.
When Zachimalawi visited Kawale PTC (in Lilongwe) on July 24 this year, only 'utterly-shocked' best explains the feeling I had. It came down to me as a form of 'modern shame' to see Kawale PTC gutted like that, by people who are served by the same in more ways than one.
Look at transport costs to Lilongwe City Centre. Look at the beauty that was Kawale PTC. Look at employment opportunities it accorded some of the community members.
But all that was ignored on July 20.
Residents now blame it on people from other townships; people, they say, do not appreciate the advantages Kawale PTC offered them.
Owners of the shop, Press Corporation Limited only had one explanation.
"It seems that people still think PTC shops are owned by government. We need to carry out massive public awareness campaigns to dispel this misconception," said Prof. Mathews Chikaonda, PCL Chief Executive Officer.
That could explain why these shops are closed today, along with many other business establishments.
The other thing that has come out clearly is that there is a strong police presence in Blantyre, both plain-clothed and uniformed officers.
They must be here to enforce the calm, and not the peace and order.