Leader of opposition and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarous Chakwera on Sunday evening stormed Kanengo Police station after learning that police has arrested the party member Ulemu Msungama for treason allegations.
Msungama, who’s challenging results of Lilongwe City North East election, allegedly insinuated that there should be a regime change through remarks in a leaked WhatsApp group chat
He however claims the WhatsApp messages were doctored to ensure arbitrary arrests for government critics and opposition MCP members.
Chakwera, who has also fingered in state intelligence that he has been plotting a “coup”, went to the Police and wanted to know why Msungama has been arrested.
“I want to know the reasons why Police have detained our member,” said Chakwera.
MCP Deputy Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka confirmed said the party is aware of a crackdown on its members ahead of parliament which sits from Monday.
Mkaka said the arrests are clearly being driven by a political agenda to “instil fear in people.”
Meanwhile, MCP publicity secretary Jessie Kabwila is reportedly seeking refuge after being tipped of the arrest.
MCP PRO Alekeni Menyani confirmed two police vehicles went to Kabwila’s mother in Area 36 in Lilongwe Saturday evening looking for her but wasn’t there.
Police are also hunting for MCP lawmaker Peter Chakwantha in relation to the ‘WhatsApp coup plot’.
Police spokesman Nicholous Gondwa had no immediate comment.
Meanwhile, human rights activist Billy Mayaya the “trumped up” charges of treason being directed towards opposition.
“This is in direct contravention of democratic principles and the rule of law. The use of intimidatory tactics to thwart the flourishing of a free and democratic society where all citizens can air their views is a stain on this current government,” Mayaya told Nyasa Times.
“The fact of the matter is that both verbal and written submissions were made at the PAC conference that reflected a general disquiet with the current government and its handling of the worsening maize shortage as well as issues related to political and economic governance.
“These submissions included a proposal for a government of national unity to be constituted comprising of all political parties in Parliament to affect an inclusive process that would pave way to early elections. In our view this in no way reflects an act of treason but a democratic right and a recommendation that emerged from the PAC conference,” said Mayaya.
MCP spokesperson demanded last week that President Peter Mutharika should resign.
Mayaya urged government to stop arbitrary arrests on critics and opposition as no act of treason was committed.
“We call on government to fulfil its obligations by respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of Malawians by facilitating increased availability and access to maize for the thousands of poor and hungry Malawians who are languishing at ADMARC depots in search of food.”
Police say the MCP members were planning to “organise, strategise and implement the removal of the constitutional government of Malawi … the Egyptian way”.
They say the MCP members discussed how to conduct an insurrection similar to Egyptian revolt that brought down Hosni Mubarak after nearly three decades in power.
Police alleged that the WhatsApp participants took turns calling for a revolt against President Peter Mutharika.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated 75% of the population living on less than $1 (60p) a day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :