Malawi police have arrested human rights activist Gift Trapence whose grouping the Human Rights Defendeds Coalition (HRDC) has been accused by re-elected President Peter Mutharika of organising protests over the disputed result of a May vote to turn the country into a “lawless society”.
The country has seen nearly two months of protests by demonstrators who dismiss the election as fraudulent and demand the resignation of Malawi Eelctoral Commission chairwoman Jane Ansah.
President Mutharika accused the protests organisers of plotting to oust his government and warned that the organisers will be dealt with severely.
“The violence you see is calculated to turn Malawi into a lawless state,” Mutharika said on Saturday as the country celebrated the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
According to the President, Trapence’s organisation want to create “lawlessness” so that they can take over this government.
Police confirmed on Tuesday they were holding Trapence but could not divulge more information.
Trapence is vice chairperson of HRDC and dismissed the president’s statement is “misplaced because these protests are not targeted to overthrow the government”.
“We are not attacking the government… and no one wants to overthrow the government.
“These peaceful demonstrations are being done to force Jane Ansah to resign,” said Trapence.