Malawi activists claim threatened with death , report to UN

Malawi rights campaigner and prominent leaders of Civil Society organisations (CSOs) leaders, who have been critical of government and issued a communiqué calling on President Peter Mutharika to address economic challenges or resign, have been receiving serious threats to their lives including warning of their impending death.

Mtambo (left) and Trapence at UN office in Geneva: Reported their claims of threats

Mtambo (left) and Trapence at UN office in Geneva: Reported their claims of threats

The threats are said to be forcing some activist to fall silent at great risk to themselves and their loved ones.

Outspoken executive director of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence of Centre for Development of People (Cedep) said they have received threats to their lives through anonymous phone calls.

They accuse the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operatives of being behind the death threats, saying the party is now unleashing terror similar to what they face during late Bingu wa Mutharika’s regime.

Mtambo and Trapence said they have reported the matter to the United Nations (UN) seeking international protection.

Mtambo said among those that are threatening him is Nelson Chijere Mwase whom he described as an operative of the DPP.

Mwase, who in 2011 was arrested for threatening Mtambo’s predecessor at CHRR Undule Mwakasungula, is leading what is known as a National Youth Forum.

But Mwase denied issuing threats or aiming at harming the activists, saying he is only challenging the CHRR leader, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Jessie Kabwila, former Bingu wa Mutharika’s legal adviser Allan Ntata to a public debate on Malawi situation.

Mtambo said he cannot debate with Chijere Mwase because of his criminal and said he believes the intimidation and threats against activists were a consequence of their legitimate work on the human rights defence and the governance situation in Malawi.

In a letter which Nyasa Times is in possession signed by Nelson Chijere Chirwa Mwase which is reportedly to have been dropped by unspecified person at CHRR offices gates in Area 47, Lilongwe.

“In recognition to the recent topical issues which has been tackled by a number of individuals and organization in Malawi, I Nelson Chijere Mwase wishes to challenge the following to public debate that will enable populace appreciate reality behind the same: Ms J. Kabwira (Malawi Congress Party Spokesperson); Mr. Allan Ntata (former Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs), and the Director (Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation),” reads part of the letter.

Ironically, in a news story carried out by The Nation newspaper prior to July 20, 2011 demonstrations titled “Bingu sympathiser arrested for threatening Undule”, Nelson Chijere Mwase was once arrested for allegedly warning the-then Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) chairperson and CHRR executive director UnduleMwakasungula with unspecified action if he did not apologise to President Bingu wa Mutharika and First Lady Callista Mutharika for his remarks on her salary.

“It is true that Mr Mwakasangula lodged a complaint following a letter written by Mr ChijereMwase. We arrested and released him on police bail after he was cautioned. He was charged with intimidation under Section 88 of the Penal Code and today [Wednesday], he appeared before the court but I am not aware of what transpired,” the then Central Region Police spokesperson John Namangale was quoted in the paper.

DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila has since dismissed the activists for their claims of receiving death threats and decision to report to UN, saying that are “seeking attenting.”

The DPP government also accuses some CSOs of exceeding “their terms of reference” and are into political activism.

Mtambo and Trapence dismiss such accusation, saying the government should ensure the safety and protection of all human rights defenders in Malawi, investigate the threats being made against them and bring those found responsible to justice.

Meanwhile, veteran activist Mwakasungura see the solution in dialogue between CSOs and government.

Government said it is open to hold talks with CSOs.

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Kenani Thambala
Some of you are making ridiculous comments – I am actually surprised at how dull you are! I do not see anything wrong with the CSOs asking for the President’s resignation and reporting threats to UN. If Mutharika is doing badly, someone in Malawi must say it otherwise it will be like the old days of Kamuzu where the President was never challenged to think outside the box. The main problem with Malawi is that it is being governed by the largest tribe, whose members cannot even see that this country is off track. You support Mutharika because he is… Read more »

I have never seen magondwani like these two what u called CSOs leaders.NDE mukhale Ku UN komko akutetezeni. I wish one could beat theme up aziona Patsogolo Acham’matowewa

kanjati Bengo

DPP strategies. Why APM listening to Mr Ben Phiri and Mwase, mupeperatu iwowo akungofuna ndalama basi osati kukuthandizani becareful APM


Atumbuka, Ambwenumbwenu, Atsibweni this is what mbwenumwenus call kuzindikila, atumbuka onse ndi mbuli, we need a kuapanga atumbukawa za ku Rwanda.


Both CSO’s and Government are to blame. Can’t you settle the matter as a family of Malawi. Shame on you.

I am a follower of Mr. Tray and his gay activism in the Weekend Nation paper.Your ideologies are devoid of development.I challenge you Mr. Tray to outline gayism and development otherwise you push for something that is not worthy dying for.If indeed someone want your life your legacy will be a shame to your children.I read the Times and other news but no journalist gives gay lifestyle a push like you.Before jetting in from there tell yah UN boss Malawi need autonomy too for it is a sovereign state.Too much politics is delaying development.Fight corruption and the plunder in the… Read more »
chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa
chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa

You people who ever supports you is wasting time and money. The whole of you going to UN to complain about the threats. Work out plans to help Malawi strengthen its economy. I have always advised you to engage your selves in activities that will provide more food, earn more forex, reduce forex sent abroad, help take care of the environment then we will know we have NGOs helping Malawi to grow and improve peoples lives. Always complaining. Yes we don’t trust you because you always complain on useless , immaterial issues.


Chindere Mwaseyo abwere kwa ine ndithane naye! Nyaniyo asakuwopyeni, kaya amadalira Nicholas Dausi yemwe ankapolisha nsapato za Kamuzu, ine ndithana nawo onse afisi amenewa.


The unpatriotic Malawians… You report to UN for what? You must be fools!! How did these two stupid rats become activists? Have the security agencies in Malawi failed to provide security? You are just attention seekers and Malawians are tired of your stories.. Go to hell!!!

Pitani kaneneni
Thamangirani ku UN Komweko. Vuto la anthu akuda ndi lokuti mumayesa kuti mzungu ndi timabungwe take is there to help you . Anthu akuda amalola kuti muthu wakuda mzao amangidwe, aphedwe ndi a zungu so that iyeyo ndi mzungu adyerere. Forgetting that at the end of the day you are just a a pawn and a puppet akafuna atha kukuchotsa. Learn lessons from other African countries who sold other africans out ngati ku Libya. Why do we keep putting pressure on African leaders to develop when they inherited broken systems set up by colonial european goverments and they are given… Read more »

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