Human rights activist Billy Banda has advised opposition political parties, mainly Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to be more “constructive and organised” to offer possible solutions to the country’s economic challenges than just aimlessly critiquing President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government.
Banda’s call follows the arrest of two MCP top officials -Jessie Kabwila, Louis Chakwantha and Ulemu Msungama- over alleged Whatsapp ‘coup plot’ conversation on Monday.
Banda, who is also the Executive Director for Malawi Watch Human Rights, said the timing of the arrest was not ideal as it would likely be misunderstood and wrongly interpreted because it has just come after the heated Public Affairs Committee (PAC) conference and amidst food and economic challenges.
He said these challenges require collective efforts for the betterment of Malawi.
“I suspect the Head of State was not fully communicated by the Police and Intelligent agencies. I do not think the President will gladly authorise such arrests. I do not in any way condone what has been going on, in the social media.
“How can they embarrass the President whilst dreaming in colours occupying the State House? What alternatives do they have to turn around the economy over night after going to the State House?,” he queried.
Banda said much as everybody has the right to freedom of expression, a line of responsibility must always take centre space when exercising such rights.
“I strongly feel the discussions that were going on was truly demeaning the status and deserved respect of the President. An apology from the MCP President is truly necessary.
“It takes courage, humility and love of peace and coexistence to admit what went wrong and how can it be corrected.”
He then advised the Malawi leader to direct the Malawi Police to drop the charges against MCP officials, saying their thoughts to mobilization people through social media could not have materialized.
“One most worrying thing is the timing of the arrests. The Police should have assessed the negative effects and its negative reaction from citizenry who may share sympathy to those arrested.
“Much as we have the right to express ourselves freely, we are also required to avoid utterances that may lead or incite violence. The tone in those discussions are clearly demonstrating disrespect to the President,” observed Banda.
He also advised the country’s security agencies-Malawi Police and National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) to always act in the interest of national peace and security and also informing and advising the President on how best to handle such scenarios with raising public alarm.
Banda further warned that the arrest of these MCP officials will reflect badly on the ruling party and the President himself, observing that this will not divert Malawians’ attention from economic hardships.
“We need to put our efforts together other than taking advantage of economic turmoil to advance our political agendas at the expense of ordinary people. We are faced with man made economic challenges, the leader of Opposition should be in forefront discussing with the government and the donor community to find solutions to our problems,” he advised.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :