Malawi blaze spree: CSOs wary, govt to probe

Malawi government has said it will  institute an “independent and through investigation” into the string of suspected arsons  into public and private institutions recently.

Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education on Tuesday said government is deeply concerned at the “sudden incidents” of fire which some quarters believe is the work of arsonists.

“Government has taken note and is saddened by incidents of fire at the Malawi Electoral Commission warehouse in Lilongwe, Mzuzu market and the Malawi Revenue Authority on the Mchinji road,” a statement from the Ministry said.

Minister of Information, Kondwani Nakhumwa: There will be through and independent investigations
Minister of Information, Kondwani Nakhumwa: There will be through and independent investigations

Government said it has directed the police and other law enforcing agencies to “thoroughly investigate the real cause of these incident of fire.”

It assured that report of the investigations will be made public and that “appropriate action will be taken in accordance with the findings.”

Authorities have offered no theories as to a possible motive for the blazes.

The civil society groups also expressed shock with the blaze plague.

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that they treat the recent fire at MEC warehouse with “suspicion”, calling it “unfortunate reversal to the country’s hard-earned democracy.”

CHRR and Cedep said they can’t help getting suspicious of “some underhand machinations in the whole incident.”

The vocal human rights groups said they expect nothing short of “expeditious and thorough investigations” into the matter.

“We expect the Police to exercise utmost professionalism and integrity for good of the country when investigating the matter,” reads a statement signed jointly by CHRR and CEDEP Executive Directors, Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively.

Meanwhile, the two organisations have asked MEC to desist from rushing into describing the incident as normal before full investigations.

“Such kind of a statement—coming from an institution like MEC– can potentially thwart the quality of investigations into the incident,” CHRR and CEDEP  said.

The two rights groups also appealed to the government of Malawi to consider prioritising fire-fighting mechanisms.

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