Civi society fear Malawi sliding back to ‘dark era’: Condemn ‘secrecy and lies’ President Mutharika’s health

Two of the country’s vocal human rights’ bodies have expressed concern over  the steady return of heavy-handedness among the Malawi Police under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government in the country.

Timothy Mtambo of CHRR, Trapence and Rev Macdonald Sembereka

Timothy Mtambo of CHRR, Trapence and Rev Macdonald Sembereka

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) said  they felt compelled to arrive at this position following the recent detention of a Zodiak Broadcasting  Station (ZBS)   journalist, Hyten   Chilema who was filming President Peter Mutharika’s arrival from prolonged US stay, and  arbitrary arrest   of civil   rights activist,  Billy Mayaya.

The   two   developments   followed government’s   issuing   of   a   strange   order   to   arrest   anyone commenting on the health of the President Mutharika.

In a joint statement, CHRR and Cedep said on all these three scenarios, they condemn government for acting “out of step” with the country’s hard-won democracy.

“On the arrest of the ZBS journalist who was filming the President’s motorcade at Area 18 Roundabout on the evening of Sunday, 16th October, we at CHRR and Cedep wish to draw the attention of government and police to section 36 of the Constitution of Malawi which stipulates that the ‘press shall have the right to report and publish freely, within Malawi and abroad, and to be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to public information.’

“As such, we call upon government to stop rolling back the gains made in media freedom in the country.Instead of resorting to any form of crackdown on the media, govermment should to take steps aimed at progressive realisation of media freedom,”  said the two in a statement.

CHRR and Cedep also “unreservedly” condemn the arrest of an activist, Billy Mayaya, and two other for staging peaceful and unarmed protests against water and electricity crisis in the country.

“ As bonafide citizens of this country, Mayaya and other concerned citizens have the “right to assemble and demonstrate with others peacefully and unarmed”, as enshrined under Section 38 of Malawi’s constitution.

“As such, we at CHRR and Cedep we find the protests by Mayaya and other as more issue-based than the pointless one staged by DPP supporters who got a full go-ahead from the Police.   This portrayal of double-standards by the Police is unprofessional and undemocratic. It has to stop forthwith,” the statement signed by CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively, said.

The two rights watchdogs emphasized that the persistent water and electricity shortages have a direct bearing on the social-economic   human   rights   of   Malawians.

“The   manufacturing   sector   that   contributes   a   greater percentage to the GDP of our ailing economy makes a lot of losses due to these blackouts. Malawians operating small scale businesses that depend on water and electricity availability like barbershops, video show rooms and salons also lose out. Tourists coming to Malawi go back to their countries with a very bad image about the country that deter would-be tourists. The list continues.

“By failing to solve the water and electricity problems, the government is also failing in its duty of protecting the citizens. A number  of  human rights  have  been  violated ranging from  the   right  to health, right to economic activity, right to education and, consequently, the right to life. Patients in hospitals are dying due to water shortages and electricity blackouts. As such, we at CHRR and Cedep can safely say Mayaya and others had very genuine issues to stage demonstrations for.”

‘Secrecy and lies’

CHRR and Cedep  also  condemned government’s issuing of threats to citizens on health of the President as inconsistent with Section 35 of Constitution which guarantees right to freedom of expression for all the citizens in the country.

“As we have said on a number of occasions, government should simply get out of this self-created pressure by opening up to public with true information on the health of the President. Threatening citizens with arrest is not a solution.

“We ask the DPP led government to stop treading the dreaded path towards a return to dark days of 2009—2011.”

The two said they have noted with serious concern the “secrecy and lies”attached as regards the healthy status of the president  by the government.

They  President Mutharika to address Malawians as a matter of urgency.

“ This will clear the cloud of speculations in the general public. Threatening and arresting people is not the solution and it is against democratic principles.

“In a democracy, a government that is not proactive in disclosure of true information should not stop its citizens from speculating.”

Mutharika, will meanwhile , address a news conference on Friday afternoon.

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12 thoughts on “Civi society fear Malawi sliding back to ‘dark era’: Condemn ‘secrecy and lies’ President Mutharika’s health”

  1. LAZALO YONA says:

    Crazy drammatists in Malawi. When has it started for organisations registered to fight for minority rights to fight for the majority???/ Pali nzeru??? 2019 wooooooooh munya

  2. Gringo says:

    Malawi has always been darkness, maybe it’s getting darker now.

  3. patrick says:

    Tatopa ndi ma blackouts, only high density areas alee ndi ma blackout, ku lilongwe area 10,12, ndi 43 alibe ma blackout, dont forget mazungu wa area10,12 ndi 43 samavota, anthu ama vota ndi ku high density areas

  4. Phyuta says:

    Sembereka khala chete ndi mano ako obvundao !!

  5. OMEX70 says:

    Thumb up CHRR and CEDEP. for speaking the truth on this issue. You are only trusted COSs except on the issue of Same sex marriages. Mwakasungula and Billy Banda of Malawi watch have now become Government worshippers.

  6. be humane says:

    hypocrites, you let Billy Mayaya alone in the streets when you were planning the Demos together. Since his arrest mukuyankhula lero? Where were you all these days? Anthu oyipa inu adyera

  7. Mjomba says:

    Anthu inu ndinu zitsiru kwambiri, mmalo moti mukhale mkumakambilana kuti madzi, magetsi ndi njala tithetsa bwanji, muli busy kukambilana za moyo wa munthu, mukuganiza kuti tikusankhani kuti mukhale President, abusa a Sembeleka bwanji osagwira kolona ndikumapephelera xa mavuto amziko muno kusiyana ndikumayang`ana kuti uyu lero wadzuka bwanji. palibetu chitukuko pa zomwe mukuchedwa kukambilana, atafa Bingu, mai wathu Joyce Banda analowa pa mpando kwa 2 years and inuyo a Sembeleka munali nawo pa chiongole, chomwe chidasintha mmalawi muno ndichiyani. Malawi sidzatukuka chifukwa cha nathu ngati inuyo. tiyeni tikambilane zamavuto okhadza aliyense mmalawi muno osati za munthu mmodzi, anthu akufa ndi njala, anthu akufa pomwe akuwapanga operation magetsi ndikuzima, sindinamvepo kuti anthu akufa ndikudwala kwa a state President. tiyeni tikambilane za chitukuko osati zogontha mkutu zanuzo. inu ngati nonse munakhala pa forum yan uyo, Edzi muli naye uja munauza ndani, ngakhale akazi anu munawabisila mmawopa CHIYANI???

    1. Kkkkkkkkk uyu nde chindere chakufikapo. I Thought president is a public figure aliyense ayenera kudziwa za umoyo wake pa Malawi pano. Chobisira utenda wa mtsogoleri wa dziko chiani? M;malawi ngati pali mbuli yamunthu ndiye ndi mjombayu.Workup mjomba we are in democracy.

      1. LAZALO YONA says:

        Idiot. Akakhala ku parliament president wanu ndi Lazalo koma akangopita ku US ndiye mukumusandusa kukhala president wanu. Iwedi ndi Chindere chenicheni.

    2. Samatero says:

      The president is a public figure that’s why we need to know. We don’t want to hear about Sembereka, who is he to the nation of Malawi

  8. Mndambala Boy says:

    Bwanji nanu ngati zopanga demo zimakukhudzani simumapanga nao?bwanji inuyo simunapiteko? zopusa basi!!! asha koka inu!!!!!!

  9. Opals says:

    Thumbs up for calling out this untowardness. These DPP fellas forget they are not in power by entitlement. Let the Rule of law not of man prevail. They should exercise power reverently coz they occupy positions of trust. Malawi is for all it’s citizens.

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