The Peter Mutharika administration is supportive of commemorating July 20, the date in 2011 when police gunned. down 20 unarmed protestors, as long as it is done in a “non-partisan manner” , according Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu
Tembenu was quoted by Malawi News on Saturday saying they would allow commemorating the day “because of the symbolic significance of this date in our nation’s history”.
He was quick to add: “For as long as your efforts are non-partisan and aim at nation-building, you can be assured of government’s support.”
At least 20 Malawians were killed on July 20, 2011, when thousands of Malawians poured into the streets protesting excesses of power of former president Bingu wa Mutharika. Most of the deaths occurred in Mzuzu but others also died in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Karonga.
Malawi News report said they quoted Tembenu who was speaking during a Freedom of Expression (FEI) event in Lilongwe recently.
FEI is a civil society organisation which promotes the expression of free speech in Malawi by, among other activities, honouring Malawians who have contributed to the attainment of freedom of expression in the country through various ways.
Stella Kalengamaliro, FEI board member . said :“Events of July 20 in the year 2011, unfortunate as they were, represent a watershed moment in the history of freedom of expression in Malawi.”
Kalengamaliro said no Malawian in a democracy should die in the aftermath of holding demonstrations.
Bngu wa Mutharika – who died the following year of cardiac arrest complications, said the 20 had died in vain.