Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of opposition in parliament, Lazarous Chakwera, has said his party membership will not be cowed following arbitrary arrests of its members on what the party say are trumped up charges of plotting to overthrow President Peter Mutharika.
Police on Sunday arrested MCP member Ulemu Msungama and charged him with sedition while on Monday they arrested Salima North-West parliamentarian Jessie Kabwila while Parliament is in session and she was told of a treason charge.
On Tuesday Peter Chakwantha (MCP—Lilongwe South West MP) handed himself to the police on same accusations of a conversation on WhatsApp that purportedly talks about how President Peter Mutharika could be toppled.
Chakwera said the MCP will not be intimidated with the crackdown on its members.
“We are ready to confront every situation. We are fearless and therefore any form of intimidation is not working,” said Chakwera.
The MCP president said his party remains “more determined” to fight for the good livelihood of Malawian people even if it means facing persecution.
Kabwila herself also told Nyasa Times after her release on bail that she “will never be intimidated by all these efforts” to silence her.
“I’m never afraid to serve my people and nothing will stop me from that,” she said.
“Any unjust action to suppress opposition will backfire,” she warned.
On Tuesday MCP members gathered at their party headquarters in the capital city centre Lilongwe.
“Sitisiya eeeh, sitisiya Congress, sure,” sang some women MCP supporters, as they whipped up emotions.
Others were singing the part of national anthem : “Gonjetsani adani onse, Njala, nthenda, nsanje. Lunzitsani mitima yathu, Kuti tisaope! (Put down each and every enemy, Hunger, disease, envy. Join together all our hearts as one, That we be free from fear)”
MCP has since condemned President Peter Mutharika and his regime for having been unnecessarily heavy-handed and hypocritical in arresting its members.
MCP secretary general Gustave Kaliwo, who is also the party’s legal adviser, lamented the arrest, saying Mutharika has been telling the nation that he and five other political colleagues had been slapped with a politically-motivated trumped-up treason charge after his elder brother Bingu wa Mutharika, had died suddenly in the presidency.
He noted that, to date, the President dismisses that charge and wondered how a whole government may now use reported—and highly questionable— WhatsApp chats as evidence of a serious charge of either treason or sedition.
Dedza East parliamentarian Juliana Lunguzi (MCP) accused Presient Mutharika of “rank hypocricy.”
She said during the ordaining of the new Roman Catholic Bishop George Tambala in Zomba recently, Mutharika asked the clergy to pray against the spirit of character-assassination and rumour-mongering among Malawians that could destroy unity and national development.
“Now what is this, his whole government is resorting to? Isn’t this hypocrisy of the highest order?” she wondered.
MCP Deputy Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka said the arrests might be an attempt to destabilise the MCP and the the opposition.
“No one would deny they want a better Malawi,” Mkaka said.
He said it’s a big leap to say MCP members discussing about Malawi woes they’re planning to make a serious threat against anyone.
“The whole thing is ridiculous.”
Mkaka said the arrests are clearly being driven by a political agenda to “instil fear in people.”
MCP called the arrest and sedition charges as “outrageous .”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :