DPP curses Mutharika over MHRC boss

Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has openly denounced its leader and State President Bingu wa Mutharika for appointing John Kapito as chairman of the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) board.

One of the party’s founding members, who is also National Campaign Director,  Ken Zikhale Ng’oma expressed disapproval of his boss following Kapito’s hard line stance on government’s repressive policies and its overall administration.

MHRC, established in 1999, is a government agency endowed with the task of protecting and promoting human rights, investigating human rights violations and following up individual complaints in the country and its board is appointed by State President.

Zikhale: Kapito's appointment was a big mistake

Kapito, who is the Executive Director of Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), has been publicly attacking government without hesitation, among others, accusing it of lacking human rights respect for people.

Among the topical issues that have put Kapito on a collision course with the Mutharika’s administration was the dragging to court of government over the contentious Section 46 of the Penal Code which government amended to give powers to a cabinet minister (of Information) to ban a publication deemed to have published material not in the interest of the public.

And Kapito’s most recent outburst was his comment on some unruly youths’ who went berserk undressing women in the cities of Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre who were wearing trousers, mini skirts and leggings.

The outspoken human rights defender was quoted in the media that the actions were an offspring of the youths’ anger because they are tired of the endless economic and socio woes facing them in their everyday life such as jobs and continued price increase of basic necessities.

But Ng’oma said the ruling party regrets that Mutharika appointed Kapito to be one of the commissioners of MHRC.

“It was a big mistake to appoint him as a commissioner of MHRC because in the first place his remarks on various issues are very unfortunate not befitting a human rights campaigner,” said Ng’oma.

Ng’oma also accused Kapito of individualizing the commission by not consulting fellow commissioners on whatever he does and says accusing him of greediness and bent on satisfying his interests other than helping government which is the parent of the commission.

Week in week out, some government talking gadgets like Information Minister Patricia Kaliati, Youth and Sports Minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda and Presidential Spokesperson Dr Hetherwick Ntaba take turns discrediting the spirited Kapito, a man their own leader appointed because of his brainpower.

And on Monday this week speaking when he opened a day-long workshop for human rights defenders in Malawi, the stubborn Kapito was on government again lambasting it and its leadership for failing to respect the rule of law and democratic principles.

However, people like Ng’oma, Kaliati, Vuwa Kaunda and Ntaba and the entire ruling party and government will soon breathe a sigh of relief because Kapito’s term expires in four months time, May 2012. Under any circumstance Kapito cannot be reappointed by Mutharika.

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