Civil society leaders have threatened to report the Malawi government to the UN and other international human rights bodies because of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) resort to violence against its critics and other of undemocratic events.
Gift Trapence, executive director of Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP p confirmed the civil society orgaisations are putting together their case against the government.
Just this week, Lilongwe City deputy mayor Cecelia Kaduya was attacked during a presidential function in Lilongwe allegedly because she switched her political affiliation from DPP to Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The DPP also beat up MCP supporters and stripped them of their party clothes during John Chilembwe Day commemoration in Chiradzulu and beat up a member of the MCP at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
Trapence said the situation is expected to worsen when the elections come closer.
He therefore said there was need to end the culture of impunity in the country.
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila said this will not be the first time that CSOs have reported the government to international human rights bodies.
“We are not a violent party and it is not true we beat up and harass people. What the CSOs are doing is to destroy the country where they come from,” he said.
He said some issues can be dealt with within the country.
DPP’S youth cadets are infamous for beating up the government critics as well as responsible for abductions and killings.
Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) joined CEDEP to say it is regrettable that the country keeps “flip-flopping” on its commitments in protecting and upholding human rights and freedoms in the country, and following a myriad of recent spate of undemocratic events.
In a joint statement signed by CHRR’s Timothy Mtambo and CEDEP’s Trapence the two bodies cite a four-hour drive from Blantyre to Lilongwe of Cecilia Kampukwe –sister to former president Joyce Banda – just for questioning for her alleged connection to a letter purporting the resignation of the country’s vice president Saulos Chilima and the attempt to block opposition MCP supporters to welcome their leader Lazarus Chakwera by DPP political hoodlums at the funeral of late Helen Singh – both events on Tuesday – as some of such anti-human rights tendencies.
They further cite the chasing of Lilongwe City mayor Juliana Kaduya at a State function on Wednesday by DPP cadets simply because they think she is an MCP sympathiser and the searching of Rumphi East parliamentarian Kamlepo Kalua ostensibly to get incriminating evidence in relation to Kalua’s alleged tax evasion crime as not being on.
CEDEP and CHRR’s also highlight that they are worried that government, especially President Mutharika is casting a blind eye on the happenings.
“It is also important to underscore the point that [the] President’s silence in all these human rights concerns bespeaks his tacit decree of reign of terror in the democratic Malawi.
“Actually, the President’s silence could prove a breeding ground for dictatorship,” reads part of the statement.
In their recommendations, they, among others, call upon government to immediately stop using the Police and DPP cadets as apparatus for shutting down civil space in the country.
They add: “The government, let alone the ruling DPP, must be the first to guard against heavy-handedness among the Police in this era of multiparty democracy supported by a progressive Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
“Government must [also] swiftly investigate and bring to book all those behind acts of terror and barbarism against government critics so that they have their day in a competent court of law.”
According to CHRR and CEDEP, government must also formulate a specific legislation that “guarantees the protection” of the rights of activists and human rights defenders or Malawi could slowly be turning into a police state.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :