Death threats on activists Chiza Mkandawire, Nyasulu

Two pro-democracy activists, Ben Chiza Mkandawire and Brian Nyasulu have reported to Lingadzi Police station in Lilongwe about death threatening anonymous phone calls they have been receiving.

Since September this year, there have been  death threats on three journalists  through mobile phone text messages for doing stories that mention top government officials or issues critical of the state.  Some human rights activists have also been death threatened.

The two activists were recently s arrested after they demonstrated carrying a banner calling President Bingu wa Mutharika a dictator.

Chiza Mkandawire: Receives death threats

Mkandawire told Nyasa Times from Lilongwe that he has been receiving anonymous telephone calls warning him of fatal consequences if he continued to be pro-democracy activist and critical of the regime.

He said the one anonymous caller threatened that he will “be killed”.

Nyasulu also said he has been warned that he will face death because of his pro-democracy activism.

Lingadzi police confirmed that they received a report from the activists on their death threats and said they would investigate the matter.

The two face trial of sedition for sedition and holding a demonstration without written police permission.

Mkandawire is one of the coordinators of Malawi Diaspora Forum in UK and a student of political science at the University of Huddersfield. He went to Malawi to assess the political situation as part of Diaspora Forum programme of pro-democracy activism.

He has meanwhile asked fellow students of his University of Huddersfield and Diaspora Forum to keep fighting for his freedom.

According to a report in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Mkandawire emailed classmate Gary Bunton to urge people in Huddersfield to step up the campaign for the charges to be dropped.

He wrote: “The chances are the regime is desperate to silence me completely, together with other human rights activists, so they might send us back to jail.”

Members of the University of Huddersfield’s Amnesty International Society have written to the Malawian government demanding charges are dropped against Mkandawire and four other activists arrested at the same protest, according to the report.

In a letter to the Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito, they wrote: “Exercising the right to peaceful protest is a basic human right.The people arrested pose as no threat to society and they were not technically breaking the law.”

University of Huddersfield’s Amnesty International Society president Gemma Wassall  also said: “We want to bombard the Malawian government with letters calling for the activists’ release.”

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