Activists hold demo calling Police IG to resign, arrested

Holding a placard: FDD members

Members of the Forum for the Defence of Democracy (FDD) on Friday held a protest demonstration in the capital Lilongwe against what they called dictatorship of Bingu wa Mutharika and were detained.

FDD’s Billy Mayaya, Ben Chiza Mkandawire, Brian Nyasulu  were in city centre at parliament building carrying placards and read out a statement calling on President Mutharika to call for a referendum on holding early elections and demanding Police Inspector General Peter Mukhito to resign to pave way for investigation into his role in the murder of university student Robert Chasowa.

“It is common knowledge that Malawians have lost trust in the current Government. Malawians are angrier because of they are being denied their rights as enshrined in Malawian Republic Constitution. This is a clear abrogation of international human rights standards as well as democratic principles,” Mayaya, who led the group, said.

The activists also said FDD want Police chief Mukhito to step down as he is implicated in the murder of Chasowa.

“We call for the immediate resignation of the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service Mr. Peter Mukhito as well as the southern region police Commissioner Mr. Rodney Jose for their alleged involvement in the demise of Chasowa. We also demand for an extensive explication of the role of the Minister of Home Affairs in the same issue,” the activists demanded.

They also demanded that the Commission of Inquiry, which was recently constituted by Mutharika led by Bishop emeritus Felix Mkhori  on July 20 killings by  state security, to  be immediately dissolved, saying it doesn’t not inspire public confidence.

“It is common knowledge that the history of Commissions of Inquiry has been mostly one of lip service and elusive results. Therefore, we demand r for an independent Commission of Inquiry comprising of Internationally reputable representatives, the faith community, Malawi Human Rights Commission, Law Commission, traditional leaders, Malawi Law Society all of whom shall be expected to act in a non partisan and professional manner,” said the FDD.

On academic freedom, FDD said: “We demand for an immediate end to the academic freedom impasse as well as the immediate return of students to the University coupled with the unconditional reinstatement of all lecturers. This must be done with the assurances of unimpeded academic freedom.”

Speaking to Nyasa Times, Chiza Mkandawire said they took a bold move to take to the streets because government is not listening.

“As you are aware that Bingu has been rounding up dissidents, Civil society members, opposition party members and political activists under the diktat ‘I will smoke you out’,” he said.

“So far we have seen unexplained arson attacks on property belonging to activists, no arrests made; law enforcement seems to be totally oblivious of any suspects. This has created a capricious political climate where one has to look over their shoulders in case they get ‘smoked out’,” Mkandawire said.

in light of all this we have formed the forum for the defence of democracy which is a representation of the common man in Malawi.

The activist also cautioned the Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati from using her public position to incite violence through hate speech by targeting Malawian citizens based on their ethnicity.

But Kaliati who is government spokesperson trashed the demands of the FDD, calling the activist as “frustrated individuals”.

Police boss could not comment on his calls to resign.

But security forces swiftly arrested the actvists and took them to Area 30 police for interrogations.

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