Human rights activist Allie Mwachande with backing from fellow Human Rights Defenders (HRD) including the vocal Gift Trapence who is also Executive Director for Centre for Development for People (CEDEP) plans
to mobilize Malawians of good will to hold Vigil at the airport on the day suspended Malawi Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr. George Chaponda returns home from Germany.
Chaponda disobeyed court order restraining him from discharging his duties as Cabinet Minister until 31st January 2017 when the Mzuzu High Court is expected to make a ruling on government’s appeal through Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale asking the court to vacate the injunction CSO’s obtained led by Charles Kajoloweka about two weeks ago.
In the first place, the CSO’s called for Chaponda’s resignation or firing by President Peter Mutharika and upon refusal by the two, they obtained an injunction which was granted by Justice John Chirwa at High Court.
The move was aimed at paving way for smooth investigations in the K23 Billion Maizegate scandal Chaponda is implicated.
In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on Saturday, activist Mwachande said what Chaponda did was total disrespect not
only to the law of Malawi and Judicial System but also underrating all Malawians.
“What I see is that Honourable Chaponda is taking Malawians for granted; he thinks he is untouchable and he is above the Law. So what
I have suggested is that we mobilize ourselves [CSO’s] together with other concerned Malawians to be at the airport the day he will be returning.
“We want him to tell us upon arrival what he went to do in German because we have all the information that he went there and that he is
still discharging his duties as minister despite the court order.
“Laws have to be respected at all costs,” said Mwachande in a telephone interview while applauding the media for bringing to limelight
Chaponda’s German trip.
“It is high time Malawians rise up and hold these people accountable because they think they are our bosses and that they can play around with us. This is to do with the Law. Both the President and the minister took an oath to respect the constitution and we
dont understand what this administration is doing and heading to,”wondered Mwachande.
Mwachande cited former Health Minister Yusuf Mwawa’s arrest some years back while serving as minister as a good example of respecting the rule of law.
Commenting on the vigil, CEDEP Executive Director Trapence while backing the idea said no one can stop an individual from exercising
his or her freedom and human right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi.
“Any person has the right to freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate as long as that is done within the law. As such I am in total support with those who are mobilizing each other to go to the airport to fight against impunity that Dr. Chaponda has shown based on the media reports that he is still performing his duties as a Minister despite court order restraining him from doing such. As human rights organizations we are supporting such calls for a vigil at the Airport” Trapence told Nyasa Times through a Whatsapp message.