Malawian authorities Friday accused a leading rights group of plotting “regime change” and blocked a meeting meant to discuss political and economic challenges in the southern African state.
Hetherwick Ntaba accused the Public Affairs Committee of calling the meeting to propose a recall movement against President Bingu wa Mutharika, whose second term in office has seen growing discontent with his rule.
“The government has information that the main agenda of the meeting was to call for a referendum (on Mutharika’s rule), failing which people will be called to a mass demonstration against the government,” Ntaba said in a statement.
Ntaba, once the personal physician of late dictator Kamuzu Banda, said PAC were “some of the plotters and opposition politicians who are plotting regime change with the help of some donors.”
PAC official Maurice Munthali said the meeting had no “sinister motives apart from letting people express themselves to find lasting political and economic solutions”.
Malawian civic groups spearheaded anti-government protests in July, when police shot 19 people dead. The civic groups and government are in UN-sponsored talks to address concerns about new laws to restrain the media, limit protests, and restrict lawsuits against the government.
The activists are also alarmed at chronic fuel and foreign currency shortages, blaming Mutharika for failing to manage the agriculture-driven economFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :