Malawi Police in Blantyre have arrested Tusekele Mwanyongo, an aide to former President Joyce Banda on suscipicion that he uses a pseudo of Gerald Kampanikiza, a strong critic of President Peter Mutharika and his ruling DPP on social media.
Mwanyongo was picked up Friday morning and is being detained at Blantyre Police Station.
He confirmed in a brief interview that he has been arrested and expressed surprise on what wrong he has done.
“Yes am at Blantyre Police, am under arrest. I don’t know what wrong I have done, maybe they are going to tell me,” said Mwanyongo.
A police source said Mwanyongo has been picked following orders from ‘above’ on suscipicion that he operates under s pseudo name of Gerald Kampakaniza who criticises Mutharika and his government on social media especially Facebook.
The arrest should send worrying signals to Malawians as traces of dictatorship would be creeping back in President Mutharika who recently has not been taking criticism positively.
Government announced the drafting of new cyber laws to control the use of social media across the country.
A bill that will impose harsh punishment for “abusers” of social media platforms, would soon be tabled before parliament.
Home Affairs Minister Jappie Mhango is on record telling the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) when he was Information Minister that the bill was aimed at refocusing the medium of social media so that it could be used for discussions around developmental issues affecting the state.
Mhango made an indirect suggestion that certain legislators and publicists were abusing WhatsApp and Facebook as they discussed a wide range of political, economic and social issues, much to the concern of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“This is a big concern to us. A lot of people are abusing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others,” said Mhango.
The development follows recent remarks made by President Mutharika where he expressed concern over the use of social media in the southern African country.
Mutharika stressed the need for new laws to regulate defamatory and malicious messages expressed on social media, urging all Malawians to embrace positivity and to curb the spread of false rumours.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :