Malawi govt’s anti- federalism drive ‘suspicious’ – CHRR, CEDEP

Two of Malawi’s leading human rights watchdogs Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) have faulted Malawi’s government’s approach of using chiefs to challenge federalism calls by some quarters, citing that such an approach has only managed to sow seeds of suspicion in the public about the government.

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Since some sections of the society started calling for federalism and with some secession, the government of Malawi through President Peter Mutharika’s aide Vuwa Kaunda has zealously been engaging chiefs in the Northern region of Malawi convincing them to reject calls for secession and federalism.

The government has further gone ahead to bar a pro-federalism grouping in Karonga district from holding its planned demonstrations in support for the calls of federism.

“We at CHRR and Cedep are further concerned with and surprised by government’s perennial tactic of mobilising traditional leaders to suppress any calls for federalism – as observed recently. While it is government’s obligation to foster unity in the country, the recent government meetings with chiefs have only managed to sow seeds of suspicion in the public about their government.”

In a joint statement signed by CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively, the two human rights organisations wonder why government is rushing into “manipulating” chiefs instead of allowing the public to soberly debate on the matter.

“Why is government rushing into manipulating chiefs to oppose the pro-federalism movement? Why is it that government is not willing to allow the public to soberly debate over the matter towards an informed decision on the matter – and instead has opted for the demonizatio of the system [through chiefs] as one way of silencing the proponents of the system” reads part of the statement made available to Nyasa Times.

Mtambo and Trapence argue that the Malawi government has the human rights obligation to provide a conducive environment for public debate of any matter of national interest.

“We at CHRR and Cedep strongly believe that the Malawi government, just like any democratic government, has the obligation to provide a conducive environment for its citizens to freely, soberly and rationally engage with each other on various matters or issues of national concern, and the current debate on federalism is no exception. “

The rights campaigners called on government to ensure that both the proponents and opponents of federalism enjoy the freedom of expression on the matter, and where they find it necessary, depending on need, they should be allowed to demonstrate freely and peacefully.

“ Government should refrain from taking steps which would be viewed as targeting one group or the other.”

The right groups contend that It is only through the provision of a conducive platform for constructive public engagement on the matter that the public can be well-informed about the merits and demerits of federalism, and in turn explore as to whether federal system provides a better alternative to the current system or not .

“Government should strive to ensure that its citizens’ overall position on the matter should be informed by facts about the proposed system rather than speculation, distortion of facts deliberately aimed at manipulating the minds of the populace. The debate on federalism should be put in its right framework where it leans more on the administrative aspects than on the tribal or regionalist concerns [ as is the case in the current debate] with the public examining as to whether such devolving of powers can best facilitate effective management of public resources or not” argue Mtambo and Trapence.

They also condemned the move to ban pro-federalism demonstrations, saying the move was aggressive as the right to protest is a cornerstone of democracy.

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Noel Yohane
Guest

Federalism sinkhondotu anthu tawalongosolerani zoona zokhazokha let Malawi be Federal Government cause pamalawi pachuluka tribalism and regionalism

Manjawala
Guest

Kodi alomwe akuwopa chani? Tapangani basi

jk
Guest

CHRR is all atumbuka from top to bottom! Ignore them, until they realise they 2 are tribalistic

MKWEZALAMBA
Guest

Tigawane basi apo ayi APM asiye kukondera a Lhomwe okhaokha.

Davi Damiano
Guest

Kodi chimakweza dela ndichiyani kuno kwathu ndichiyani chimene tikufuna: Musalole kuti kwanthu kuno kudzalowe mkhondo; Inu anzathu akumpoto musathamange uphawi waukulu ndikusiya dziko lanu kukakhala ulefugi pamenepa muthu aimitsa chilichonse ufuluso umakhala ulibe;
Kwa ine inuyo ndiye amene muli bwino ngati mtundu mmalawi muno muli M’boma makapani mmabugwe komaso ma (Businesses). Kodi mudzalola zosezi zidzaime?

brick force 9“
Guest

Federalism yomweyo winawe ulira. Iwe cha vuwa kaunda tikuthamangitsako kuno kumpoto

Eddy Banda Congress of Nyika People (CONP)NP)
Guest
federalism is coming whether peter mutharika likes it or not—-it is coming. this man is the most evil leader turning malawi into one tribe (lomwe) domination. it is better we go our separate ways. you can’t force people to live together while the leadership of DPP is advocating that lomwes are first and ruling class tribe. the northerners have become the slaves in their own nyikaland. They can’t hold any demonstration or voice their grivancies and all they get from this barbaric government is a violence respond. For how long will Nyika people take this crap of being slaves in… Read more »
Mbowe Mulambia
Guest

Chiefs from north do not being used By Vuwa is the same Vuwa who was loughing at you when you were being beaten and killing your sons & daughters plaese leave this for people not you mwayiwala khale?

malawian
Guest

My only worry is that people are supporting secession thinking that they are supporting fedral system. I wish someone did us a favour by civic educating us on the difference between the fedral system and secession before the debate starts and prior to referendum. I am ashamed of myself when I hear that the government decided to use chiefs on a big hot issue like the propasal to have a Fedral system: I wish and only wish someone told it is a lie that government really did that. Lord have mercy on my country.

misala
Guest
SURPRISINGLY WE WAIT TO VOTE AFTER A LOSS THEN…???????? THIS MIGHT BE JUDGED AS WEAKNESS. HOW COULD A NEW GOVERNMENT OF LESS THAN 6MONTHS JUDGED THIS WAY? WHY YOU DIDNT TAKE A FULL ADVANTAGE OF POOR ELECTION WHEN PP MCP UDF COUGHED THE VOTE RECOUNTS. SO THAT WE COULD AVOID DPP? Thats the time we missed to Introduce FEDERAL. BAD TIMING. when argument breaks the wiser should remain silent to avoid being judged stupid. I would promote love and give more time the present Government to bring and repeat errors so that brothers of north use it to woo future… Read more »

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