Chakwera vows to lead Malawi protests march to State House: Demands release of activists

Malawi Congress Party(MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has vowed to defy President Peter Mutharika’s threats to use force to crash protests at State House, saying he will lead his supporters in the march if Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence and the group’s chairperson for the Central Region Macdonald Sembereka will not be released in the next 48 hours.

Chakwera (c) orders for immediate release of Human right activists Sembereka (r), Trapence

The two human rights activists were arrested in Lilongwe last evening barely hours after President Mutharika warned HRDC that both the police and army will use “full force” to stop them from holding demonstrations at State House.

Trapence and Sembereka spent a night at Blantyre Police Station and Ndirande Police Station, respectively, following their arrest.

But in a statement released Monday and made available to Nyasa Times by MCP, Chakwera,  who together with UTM Party president ans State vice-president Saulos Chilima,  —  secured the landmark judgement by the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election on February 3 2020— is accusing President Mutharika of  openly instigating a crackdown on civil society leaders who were a the forefront of protests and legal action to challenge his election.

HRDC announced last week that it was planning a “citizen’s electoral justice march” to the State House on 25 March to force President Mutharika to assent to the electoral bills and appoint new Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners to manage fresh elections.

But Mutharika  who called the HRDC a “terrorist network”  warned the coalition  that both the police and army will use “full force” to stop them from holding demonstrations at State House.

In his statement,  Chakwera accused President Mutharika of being in breach of “several provisions of the Constitution” by ordering the “spurious arrests” of human rights defenders from the platform of the political party’s rally.

Chakwera has demanded that President Mutharika should  release immediately the HRDC members.

“But should he fail to do so within 48 hours, I will personally galvanize all peace-loving ad law-abiding Malawians to march on the State House of which he is a temporary tenant and camp there until theses innocent activist are released,” said Chakwera in the statement.

UTM Party  spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga has also joined the chorus of demanding the release of the activist, describing their arrest as hindrance to democracy.

“Sunday’s arrest of the HRDC leadership is the latest evidence of the pitiful levels to which our MPS has been compromised. We have in Malawi a police service which has ceased to serve the public whose taxes sustain its operations and is now at the beck and call of politicians who are living on borrowed time.

“UTM joins all peace loving Malawians in condemning DPP and MPS for their continued acts of impunity. It also demands the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested activists and holds both DPP and MPS responsible for their safety and security,” reads in part the statement.

Meanwhile, Malawi Police Service (MPS) in a statement says they are hunting for HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo, whom they claim is on the run, following a warrant of arrest which has been secured.

The statement, signed by national police spokesperson James Kadadzera, says the warrant of arrest for the three was secured following a press briefing last week where the HRDC members called on people to seal State Residences.

Reads the statement in part: “The three suspects are fully aware that Section 103 of the Police Act prohibits any demonstrations or assemblies within a hundred metres from State Residences unless the same have been permitted by the State President.

“This means that no one can seal a State Residence unless they breach the provision of Section 103 of the Police Act.”

The statement promises that “the nation will be continuously updated on any development”.

Mtambo had planned to surrender himself to the police Monday morning but remains at large.

According to activist Billy Mayaya, the grouping advised Mtambo not to hand himself over to police because it believes the three HRDC leaders did not do anything wrong in planning to hold demonstrations.

Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN), based in Johannesburg, has sisnce  issued a statment expressing “reasonable apprehension and fear” for the lives of Trapence and Sembereka, pointing out that anything is possible to be done against them while they are detained, including torture, inhuman and other degrading treatment as well as poisoning.”

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Mina
Mina
8 months ago

Nobody will stop us Ansah must fall MEC leave the office please Peter Mutharika sign up for the new reforms bills you will not rest until you hear out our voices viva Malawi freedom is coming tomorrow. Jane Ansah can’t lead the forthcoming elections again this is our msg to Peter fire Jane Ansah and the MEC team.

Nyapapi
Nyapapi
8 months ago

Tsiku lokufa nyani mtengo umatelela,DPP nthawi yanu yatha,ndipo mumangidwadi,anthu anji inu ndenkumati
lozani zanu chimene inuyo mwapanga ndi pitala choti mutha kuloza ndi chani? miyala yamaziko basi pano yapanga
ndelenso,kumene nyapapiyu akugona anamanga ndindani? kumaganiza ndiponso kumakhala anthu okonda dziko lanu look now mukungokweza zinthu COF pano K 21,000.00 for what? STEP DOWN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Prophet
Prophet
8 months ago

What you create is what you get in life , what you want to happen to others is what happen to you in your life in future , our sons are hearing and seeing what we want them to be in future . You are creating a thing that will no amended or changed in life , President Mzuma create Malema and the same Malema destroy Mzuma

Jamax
Jamax
8 months ago

This is why Chakwera will never rule this Nation Malawi – he is a power hungry man – I wonder why he chooses to be always in front of BAD things – believe you me as long as you continue associating with people who are inciting violence you automatically miss the blessings of God = Now go and ready the Book of Psalms 1 vs 1 – 6 and see what God is saying of you???????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your role as a Pastor is to call for peacefull mediation and call for prayers and fasting these are the only demos used… Read more »

Simbi Mchinji
8 months ago

Chakwera, it is your right to demonstrate, nobody can stop you from your decision. However, the Security personnel have also a right to do their job perfectly in situations which are rough by nature. So don’t be surprised if the Security also treat you equally the way they can treat Vendor because you and the vendor are just the same with the aim of causing havoc. So, go we will meet you there.

Mwene
Mwene
8 months ago
Reply to  Simbi Mchinji

Mr Cadet look at a bigger picture, don’t regret as the situation unfolds!!!!

BigMan
BigMan
8 months ago

What is so special about State House? It is not Mutharika’s personal property, it actually belongs to the people. A fully grown educated professor screaming at the rally almost in tears ” You will not get state house”!!….like a baby afraid of losing his toy? In the USA where this low energy sleepy president of ours spent most of his life, there are daily protests held at the gates of the White House. It is seen as a democratic right, in some cases the President even goes down and mingles with the demonstrators. That is democracy. Not what this crybaby… Read more »

Lego
8 months ago

Some few weeks ago DPP supporters marched to the State House why were not arrested?Does this law applies to certain people only?This is not what we fought for in 1993,its like we are going backwards now.

Jamax
Jamax
8 months ago
Reply to  Lego

Marching only is allowed but sealling the state house is a crime it’s like you want to over throw the government.

Nasingwe
Nasingwe
8 months ago

pitala anapatsa jeni 20 million basitu tipex. tosefe tinadzuka 2am kukafola pa nzere kokavuta inu mutakupatila azikazanu ,azimunananu kumimba ife kumafa ndi kamphepo kammamawa kaja inu mukusangalala kuti mwawina kale zitsilu tazipusitsa.
cifukwa ca umbuli kuti simungatipusise tose lelo mwayamba kuotana ma aluya atatu anabwera aja kuti azasokonozeso, mukunyatu, a malawi a dzana lomwe lija ,lelo ntaaa.

ANAMKABANGO LIYA LIYA... SUJA MUNKANENA LIYA LIYA.
ANAMKABANGO LIYA LIYA... SUJA MUNKANENA LIYA LIYA.
8 months ago

ARREST CHAKWERA BWANA APM

Nyapapi
Nyapapi
8 months ago

On what ground? Cant believe you Pple are still sleeping

Mina
Mina
8 months ago

Arresting chakwera hahaha you are starting fire 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 oooooh try it you will see how your fell Malawians will react and how many people do you wanna put in custody for the freedom fighting?

Bwande
Bwande
8 months ago
Reply to  Mina

Nyau freedon not Malawian freedom Koko Ku Lilongwe kuno Ayi

Opportunist
Opportunist
8 months ago

Thank you sir for paying them a visit

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