Malawi government set a precedent when it paid K3 billion to Leston Mulli owned firms as compensation costs of property damaged during the July 20 2011 demonstrations and it will be double-standards to push costs of post-elections demonstrations to be borne by organisers, critics have observed.
UTM Party president Saulos Chilima first observed this at a political rally he held in Mangochi on Sunday and Constitutional law expert from Chancellor College, Edge Kanyongolo, has added his voice, saying pushing organisers to shoulder the cost of demonstrations, government is being hypocritical.
He was commenting on statement made by Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi that costs of property damaged during the June 20 demonstrations and other costs of post-elections demonstrations will be borne by organisers – the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).
“It is outrageous for government to be pushing costs to protesters when the same government paid out compensation to politically-connected businessman over demo damages,” said Chilima.
The payment was authorised on April 13 2018 to Sunrise Pharmaceuticals and Chombe Food Limited—companies under Mulli Brothers Holdings Limited (MBHL).
A private practice lawyer Bright Theu questioned the payment and described it as “dubious” and “questionable.”
Mulli has strong links to President Peter Mutharika through their shared membership of Mulhakho wa Alhomwe heritage group.
Kanyongolo said government is playing “double standards” after the Attorney General ordered the payment of K3 billion to Mulli for what he claimed were damages to his business caused by July 20 211 protesters.
He said “it will be fair it pays the others as well.”
Malawi Human Rights Commission executive secretary David Nungu concurred with Kanyongolo, saying the commission’s position is that only those directly responsible for damages can be liable for their actions.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party have been joining nationwide protests organised by HRDC demanding the resignation of MEC chairperson Jane Ansah for election irregularities.
During the protests, property was destroyed and some police officers assaulted.