Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka has accused the government of a “complete abuse” of the Malawi Police Services for political reasons thereby turning the country into a police state.
Kajoloweka said in Mzuzu on Thursday when group of people turned out to protest the arrests of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) barely after President Peter Mutharika attacked them for planning protests against Mutharika’s attempts to quash upcoming elections.
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo, his deputy Gift Trapence and member Macdonald Sembereka had promised to shut down three presidential state residences last week in a bid to force Mutharika to ratify electoral bills that were recently passed in Parliament.
But Kajoloweka described the arrests as “unlawful and orchestrated by partisan politics”.
Kajoloweka told Al Jazeera: “We condemn it in the strongest terms possible and would like to call for their unconditional release.”
But the Lilongwe Chief Magistrate Violet Chipao imposed bail conditions when she released the activists.
HRDC spearheaded nationwide protests since last May’s disputed elections.
Mutharika’s re-election was nullified last month because of widespread irregularities, including the use of correction fluid on tally sheets.
The constitutional court ordered officials to hold a new presidential election within 150 days. But for those elections to be organised, the president has to agree to the new bills.