Civil society organisations mother body and the media have ganged up to urge President Peter Mutharika come out clearly and condemn a student who was arrested on Friday in a minibus for participating in a debate on the status of economic, political and social landscape.
Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) the Malawi chapter described the arrest of 19 year old Patrick Semu at the order of an ordinary ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) woman cadre as unacceptable in democratic Malawi.
The media watchdog’s chairperson Thom Khanje said the Republican Constitution clearly gives every Malawian freedom of expression, saying criticising the government or the president cannot be an offence.
“These are dictatorial tendencies that Malawians voted out in the 1993 referendum. There is nothing wrong in critisizing the president or the government,” said Khanje.
He then asked Mutharika to come out clearly and speak against the arrest of the Dae Yang University student.
Police said he has been charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace following a heated debate in a minibus in Lilongwe that ensued after the offended lady in DPP full regalia boarded the public transport.
Khanje said everyone has freedom of expression as enshrined in the Republican Constitution.
Human Rights Consultative Committee executive director Robert Mkwezalamba questioned the impartiality of the police for rushing to arrest the young man on allegations brought by a woman in full DPP attire.
He echoed Khanje’s views that the arrest was illegal because it is against the Republican Constitution.
The lady in DPP colour is said to have been irked after some people questioned the wisdom of following a party that is party to the current food shortages and high prices of maize in addition to the ailing economy.