Information and Communications Technology Minister Nicholas Dausi has apologised to the media fraternity in the country after the disheartening the assault on Times Group journalist by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youth cadets at Parliament on Friday.
The journalist, Douglas Banda, was assaulted while filming DPP members as they were being evicted from Parliament for disturbing proceedings. The irate DPP supporters ordered him to delete the pictures he had taken.
Dausi said the assault on Banda was unfortunate and must be condemned in strongest terms.
“On behalf of the government of Malawi and on my own behalf, sincere apologies. We cannot switch back and go the era of anarchism. Violence has never solved a problem,” said Dausi.
Dausi, who is government spokesperson, said what happened at Parliament was regrettable.
He assured journalists in the country that the matter will be investigated thoroughly.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have all expressed sadness that the journalist was beaten up in full view of the police and DPP secretary general Gresselder Jeffrey.
The HRDC, led by Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence and Charles Kajoloweka, who last week also petitioned government over socio-economic and governance issues, said in a statement that the violence is a manifestation that the DPP tolerates violence as a tool to stifle dissenting views.
They said the assault on Banda was not only an attack on media freedom but also an insult to Malawi’s hard–earned democracy.
They have since demanded the immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the acts of violence and an explanation on why the perpetrators of violent acts are left scot-free.
“We demand that President Peter Mutharika should publicly condemn these acts of violence immediately; and that he disciplines his party on the culture of terror and impunity. Failure to do so we vindicate assertions that he is either an accomplice to the scheme or is not in control of the state of affairs,” reads the statement in part.
One of the leading DPP youth terror—in-Chief is identified as Dayton Mussa and they were being commandeered by Charles Mchacha, MP.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima was the first in government to issue a statement condemning the violence at Parliament.
In the statement, Chilima says: “When we voted for multiparty democracy in 1993, after a gallant fight against the brutality that existed at the time, we said goodbye to a dark age.
“We, as the people of Malawi, should not, therefore, allow any individual or group of individuals masquerading as democrats to take us back to the era of death and darkness in pursuit of their own selfish interests.
“The acts of the last 36 hours are primitive, uncivilised and satanic and have no space in modern Malawi.”
The Vice-President urges all peace-loving Malawians to resist this and to refrain from being used by selfish individuals whose aim is to tear the nation apart.
He said no one should be threatened or intimidated for expressing their political, religious or any views at any time anywhere in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :