UN pens Malawi leader over threats to activists

The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights has written the Malawi government over allegations that regimeofficials have been intimidating activists who have been seeking for accountability for the National Aids Commission (NAC) financial abuses.

Soliciter General Dr Janet Banda: Government will respond

Soliciter General Dr Janet Banda: Government will respond

At least 22 Civil Society Organisations in Malawi working in the realm of human rights, health and HIV/AIDS led mass demonstrations on 13th January 2015 in protest of dwindling state of governance and diverting of NAC funding to entities that do not directly deal with HIV/AIDS intervention.

The period prior to the demonstrations witnessed a high level government orchestrated media propaganda demonizing CSOs leaders through state-media MBC and the ruling controlled private media houses and online blogsg with the main casualties being the spokesperson of the demonstrations Timothy Mtambo of CHRR, Gift Trapence of Cedep, Macdonald Sembereka of MANERELA and Martha Kwataine of MHEN.

The period also witnessed government’s orchestrated propaganda machinery parading chiefs, vendors, and some activists on state media to attack CSOs under the anti-NACgate banner.

However, in a letter addressed to government through US Ambassador to Malawi and permanent representative to the UN Brian Bowler, several government officials are said to have been threatening human rights defenders and their organisations.

According to the letter, the Cedep and MANERELA executive directors are reported to have received 50 anonymous threatening calls prior to the Civil Society-led demonstrations against NAC for channeling funds to institutions with links to the Presidency, the Beautify Malawi Trust and Mulhakho Wa Alhomwe.

“On 12 January 2015 – a day before the demonstrations – the NGOs involved in the organizing the demonstrations met with three government ministers at the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC). During the meeting, the ministers allegedly attempted to dissuade the organisers from going ahead with the demonstrations. On the same day, at press conference on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation TV, the Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare allegedly threatened to deregister any NGO participating in the demonstrations,” reads the letter.

The letter also asks Malawi government to explain the media defamation launched by the state machinery against human rights defenders and how this is reconciled to government’s commitment and obligations to protect human rights defenders and freedom of assembly.

Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice Dr Janet Banda has said government will respond to the letter.

She however described the allegations as “shocking and unfounded”.

Banda has since indicated that as government they had now formed an opinion that for CSOs it was not a question of them doing any research but a question of sustainability of their own donor funding.

While confirming writing UN Agency of the allegedly threats and defamation, Cedep executive director Gift Trapence indicated that government’s accusation was one of the regime’s strategies to divert public attention from real human rights issues citing government’s continued failure to respond and address issues in the 13th January 2015 petition.

Ironically, amongst the issues raised in 13th January demonstrations are issues pertaining to demonization of the right to demonstration and freedom of assembly and freedom of expression as well as ruling party’s control of MBC as a tool to unleash attacks on critical voices of the regime

“Malawians are concerned with government’s orchestrated propaganda to demonise constitutionally guaranteed freedom of assembly and right to demonstration which clearly indicate that the right to freedom of expression through demonstration, written or spoken has nothing todo with whether demonstrations are justifiable or not in the eyes of a third party.

“By demonizing these fundamental rights through state and some DPP-controlled private media, the government is sending a worrisome message to the public that it has no respect or regards for the constitution as well as its commitments towards protection and respect of human rights,” reads part of the petition.

Meanwhile, according to inside government sources the letter from UN has brought anger within the DPP and government hierarchy with some tasked to develop strategies on how to deal with the said activists and institutions.

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25 thoughts on “UN pens Malawi leader over threats to activists”

  1. Kangaroo says:

    Mayi uyu very sexy

  2. Bless banda says:

    Thus Trapence and the friends. Always against development of their country,for personal gains

  3. Ntambo, sembeleka, trapence ma threat mudakachita report wo ndiye ati. Mudzawaona kutsogolo kuno tikakutoperani. Ofunika kumakupatsani timakofi. Akulu adanena kuti “kudyera kulimba” Muzidya ndalama za JB ndi ma donors tiitakuphwasamulani kaye agalu inu.

  4. matako says:

    Our government has become a bully through its paid DPP cadets . They use MBC and social media to tarnish the image of any one who attempts to hold them accountable. They continue to portray any one who dares to ask questions as an enemy of the state while they also demonizes opposition parties as jealous lunatics through social media and what ever means they can use. This is the reason why we have always urged all concerned citizens to write the donors and those organizations responsible for funding various projects in the country. This government continues to abuse our resources through dubious means. The over declaration of assets as a way to steal from Malawians is one example. If it wasn’t for the ordinary citizens we would never have know the truth. So yes, lets continue to hold our leaders accountable and demand transparency in governance.

  5. Happy Eduardo says:

    Which threats and human rights violations? Poor activists!

  6. Mugonapamuhanya says:

    The UN Country representative is a damn fool. Is there any issue here? Why not leave it to global fund and NAC to sort it out? Why not talk about horrendous crimes against humanity that is taking place in South Africa? You are fools to the bone.

  7. fisi ndi fisi ngakhale atakhala brother wake wa fisi sagasiye kuba mbuzi.dpp ooyee!

  8. DINEO says:

    Ife asatinyase, human rights abuse ipose ikuchitika ku South Africa? sitinamvepo zomulembera Zuma . za Funding ya NAC nkchani? muzingotisokosa ntindalama tamagazi. mxii! Takambanipo za Ku South Africa apa!

  9. KAY says:

    eeeee ife tikakolore chimanga nkhaniyi ndiya andale.akathana mutiwuza kuti zayenda bwanji.

  10. irvine says:

    Malawians let’s be realistic and give good guidance to our leaders whenever they are doing wrong rather than feel sympathy for them when they are out of power and the LAW takes its cause.

  11. Cymru says:

    I think the activists don’t know what they are claiming to be abuse. There are countries where human rights defenders and the ordinary persons are persecuted. In Malawi there is abundant freedom and honestly the activists are enjoying it beyond reasonable doubt. If you don’t like the party or people in power, it is unfair to create false stories. Even the UN knows that people in Malawi are at peace. We have other problems to worry about. If the activists say that people are very poor and struggling to survive in Malawi, many will agree to that. The problem is the activists are funded based on the noise they make even if its bad noise. Please, help the suffering Malawians other than worst time on imaginary situations.

  12. Chembwiye says:

    This is how Africa is dying. Are you serious that within 6 or so months of Peter assuming office there was “dwindling state of governance”? Africans we are really stupid people. We kill ourselves and our countries. IMF/World Bank and other donors have since been gaining increasing confidence in how government is setting up institutions of accountability and operationally empowering such institutions. This is exactly why they are releasing some money to this government. Why would someone go to UN for their own country? On what issue really that cant be tackled locally. Do you really think UN route is sustainable. I do not even believe it will solve anything. Very stupid approach adulterated with personal ambitions and vendetas. No genuine statesmanship.

  13. Chipoya LJ. says:

    The problem is that the UN and its Officials don’t know that what is happening on the ground is all about politics by failed politicians like Sembereka, Mtambo, JB and others. Had it been that the move was taken by neutral influential individuals like Henry Kachaje, Rafiq Hajjart and others, I could sounded good and carried some weight but not these evil political morons.

    I for one was never in any way infringed by so called government intimidation. How I wish the UN to scrutinise these so called CSO and their motives. Most of these are disgruntled politicians who failed in last year’s May elections and they are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that this DPP led government fail in its bid to deliver all what it has in its manifesto. But this is not all what we fought for.

    Fellow Malawians, let’s all learn to understand that GOD’s time is always the best and that we can’t have two regimes running at the same time. How I wish these Opposition figures to strategise themselves for 2019 elections. Mind you, I don’t mean that they stop checking the Government and its dealings but not going this far. What they must know is that they are denting the image of entire Malawi and not only DPP and its leadership.

    A Malawi tiyeni tileke nsanje for I believe our time will come.

    All in all, GOD Bless Malawi!!!!!!!!

  14. Chintebwe says:

    Mavuto adakali pamalawi wabwino sadzapezeka thuswhy our cctas and brozers are surffering in john to seek for green pasture

  15. ZACHIBWANA says:

    Malawi is a sovereign country. Mudzingowaberara azunguwo ndalamazo.

  16. Kenkkk says:

    Is this surprising from these dpp thugs? They are now even entrenching themselves more instead of looking at themselves as to why this happened or what is the real cause of it all?

    The issue of misuse of nac money by mlakho and beam will forever remain dpp govt Achilles heel as that was blatant thieving by the two organisations directly connected to this head-less dpp govt and its presidency. Because of their guilty on the matter, the president has evaded the issue trying to hide from it and never commented on it, yet nac is the most important organisation in the country money-wise and tackling important diseases that seriously afflict malawians. The president should have intervened on this matter and addressed the nation on nac because of its major roles it plays in the country stemming from donor money. What did we get, total silence from Peter and stupid barking from cohorts purported to be govt spokespersons responding to the matter.

    If the govt had handled the nacgate issue properly, there wouldn’t have been any need for confrontation with Malawians or csos. The situation escalated because of the stubbornness, selfishness and self-enrichment of these dpp thugs ruling the country refusing to return the sick people’s money.

  17. Malindima says:

    Was that issue worthy writing to the UN?
    Doesn’t the Resident UN Rep know the truth that even me and ordinary citizen did not notice any intimidation of any nature?
    Iam a free citizen and my rights have not been infringed what so ever and these NGOs could have found something else to complain but not represent me on force allegations. Really Gays are stupid animals and surprisingly they are Tumbukas only!

  18. Chikopa says:

    Kodi mtambo ukuyambilanso zomwezija za 2010 umapanga ndi jb? Peter sanakuyankhe mwano umene ukuchita ndipo iwe unati peter sakuyankha chifukwa chiani umafuna akayankha uchite report ku united nation please mr mtambo the nation must go forward , we want to develop , president muthalika has been torelant , please please please mr mtambo lets stop politiking move together us a nation we have afuture to protect ,population is growing averyday

  19. Wafa uli Moyo says:

    Amene anagwiritsa ntchito ndalama za NAC pothandizila bungwe la Mulhakho wa alhomwe nd beautify Malawi,amangidwe chfukwa nd kuba kumeneko.

  20. Chemtukanika says:

    As many are speaking against threats to human rights activists,others are commenting agaist them again.When shall Malawians start to think first before coming with a comment?Anthu ena kungozolowera kukhala a kapolo mdziko lawo lomwe ati kufera chipani.

  21. Atcheya says:

    Is she married? Milomo yabwino bwanji.

  22. Nkhuwawe says:

    UN and CSO we have so many things to do in our country than threats to CSOs. Do u know kuti anthu amenewa are being used by oposition parties monga PP?, stop this or else u’ll be smoked out.

  23. Daniel Phiri Jnr says:

    Malawians will not be intimidated by this backdoor govt.Didnt Pitala mbyofo mbyofo’s wife Aunt Getu misuse NAC money for some Lomwe archaic tribal grouping reviving some ancient language and baring breast of poor people’s daughter in Goliati for some old sex starved Lomwe men to watch.The president should simply seal his mouth on this issue because money meant medication for Hiv was wasted for useless things.Malawians are seething with anger over this issue.

  24. Misozi says:

    UN AND CSO DON’T FOOL US. THE ISSUE IS ABOUT THE GAY. WHY NOT JUST ASK MALAWIANS TO VOTE ABOUT IT.

  25. john says:

    Janet Banda is pure PP iwe don’t say you are shocked.

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