Local government and Rural Development minister Ben Phiri has instructed his lawyers to demand an apology from a Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) official over remarks he made linking the minister to a petrol-bomb blast at HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo’s house in Area 49 in Lilongwe, damaging his vehicle and part of the house.
According to a letter from Tembenu, Masumbu and Company, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka has been given up to 14-days to make the apology or face legal action.
“We are for and on behalf of Dr. Ben Phiri (“our client”) who has instructed us to address you and demand an apology from you as we hereby do,” says the letter in part.
The letter says Sembereka allegedly made the remarks at a news conference in Lilongwe on August 15 after Mtambo’s residence in the Capital City was petrol bombed on August 14. “Kindly take note that your utterances were defamatory as well as injurious, detrimental, demeaning and damaging as they are bound to discredit and ruin Dr. Ben Phiri’s character and thus negatively affect him in his work, business, and personal life.
“The statements are injurious considering the fact that Dr. Ben Phiri holds a public life as a cabinet minister and is a well known person,” says the letter in part.
The letter seen by Nyasa Times is dated August 22,2019.
There was no immediate comment from Sembereka or the HRDC.
The petrol bomb attack at Mtambo’s residence also come after suspected regime thugs in July petrol-bombed a UTM Party vehicle in Mangochi, a house belonging to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) director of Youth Richard Chimwendo Banda in Dowa, MCP offices at Chichiri in Blantyre, and MCP vice-president Sidik Mia’s offices in Blantyre.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said they are yet to arrest anyone although they continue investigating the cases.
A security expert Euginio Njoloma, who lectures at Mzuzu University in the Department of Governance, Peace and Security, said the attacks are indicative of “compromised security” in the country.
He also said it defies the concept of Rule of Law, which makes the country degenerate into a failed statehood category.
“ All this is because government appears not interested to address such targeted attacks and chooses to leave the perpetrators scot-free.”
And governance commentators Makhumbo Munthali and Humphrey Mvula said the continued attacks signal weak democratic institutions.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :