Malawi lawmaker Chiwaya raises fear rights violation ‘creeping back’

Parliamentary Chief Whip for opposiiton United Democratic Front (UDF), Dr Clement Chiwaya has said heavy handedness by police officers towards leaders of opposition parties will dent the human rights record of the Joyce Banda administration.

Recently, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) penned the Inspector General of Police, Lot Dzonzi, expressing concern over what it has called the police’s “unwarranted harassment” of the party’s president Peter Mutharika and his followers.

The opposition party cited incidents which the police tear-gassed the party’s top officials, including Mutharika, when he went to report to police, as per his bail condition in the treason case that also involves several DPP and ex-government officials.

And also raised the issue of police barring Mutharika to speak to people in some whistle stop tours.

Chiwaya: Bill is important
Chiwaya:  No political discrimination

There have also been concerns by University of Malawi students at Chancellor College that Police used heavy handedness action to query their peaceful protests.

Speaking in Parliament. UDF’s Chiwaya said  the PP government has made great strikes on governance “from the worst forms of rights violation” the DPP  regime subjected Malawians to.

He said Banda should be applauded for making Malawi a free society where people could express themselves free without fear of being victimised.

Chiwaya said: “It is dismaying again to note that certain traits of violations, such as police brutality against leaders of political parties is creeping back into the system.  Mr. Speaker, Sir, this has potential to tarnish the image that our government worked very hard to improve.”

He added: “Mr. Speaker, Sir, 50 years ago we decided to choose our destiny and affirmed our constitutional wish to aspire for good leadership and good governance.”

But government spokesman Moses Kunkuyu told Nyasa Times that the perception that the government is persecuting opposition leaders is” neither here nor there.”

“The police are working independently and there is no political persecution,” said Kunkuyu.

Malawi at 50

Chiwaya told Parliament that next year Malawians are called to duty to critically look at how the nation has fared in the last 50 years and where posterity will be in the next 50 years.

“Are we laying a proper foundation for posterity or we are creating pit holes for our posterity to descend into?

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, as a nation we have a responsibility to ensure that Malawi remains a peaceful country.  Malawi remains one of the countries in Africa that has never tested strife,” he said.

Chiwaya said as the nation goes into the elections next year, “it is the responsibility of all parties to ensure that any form of political violence is not tolerated.”

He added: “Any political discrimination based on political party should not be condoned.”

“ Politics of tribalism or sectarianism is beyond this age.”

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