Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the prominent civil society, interfaith organisation made up of the main Protestant, Catholic and Muslim faith groups in Malawi has condemned the arson attack at Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) offices in the commercial capital, Blantyre.
Arsonists suspected to be operatives of ruling DPP on Friday broke window panes at IPI offices at Lali Lubani Road near Wanderers Club and threw in a suspected petrol bomb, according to Samuel Milepa who lives at IPI’s compound.
IPI is headed by Rafiq Hajat, one of Malawi’s leading rights activists and a fierce critic of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
In a media statement made available to Nyasa Times, the multi-faith organisation condemned the attack, saying the acts represent “ a barbaric attitude designed to stifle the operations of human rights defenders in Malawi.”
PAC , meanwhile, asked Police to investigate the perpetrators behind this barbaric act –dubbed operation smoke out – and bring them to book.
Recently, Hajat – one of the key organisers of anti-government protests said he was leading a “solitary existence” following threats from President Mutharika to “smoke out” organisers of the demonstration. The President accused the protesters of committing treason.
Reads the statement signed by PAC acting chairperson Reverend Macdonald Kadawati: “In any democratic society, we expect people to debate issues amicably rather than targeting individuals because they differ from their viewpoints.”
The statement said the development does not only cast doubt on some stakeholders that have been bent on using intimidation as their appropriate weapon for sustaining their opinions and aspirations, but also demonstrate a cowardly approach to dealing with opponents within the framework of good governance .
“While the public is not yet clear on what motivations were behind such unfortunate attack, the circumstances surrounding the act point to a deliberate political intimidation which does not have any place in our democratic dispensation,” the religious grouping said.
PAC said it will not tolerate such conduct whether it emanates from political or any other institution that is determined to derail peaceful political processes.
“ It is disturbing to note that what our country is going through does not represent the aspirations of many Malawians who fought for political change in the country,” said the organisating.
It said : “ With the undemocratic developments our country is experiencing, we feel our democracy is being tested to its limits.”
However, PAC urged Malawians to remain steadfast to the principles and norms of democracy , human rights and rule of law and said Malawians should be ready to fight for democracy till to the end .
“As far as the contemporary world is concerned , no dictatorial system has survived for long, given that its tentacles are devoid of a place in the globalized world . We appeal to faith based organizations, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to join hands as we strive to restore our democratic values,” said the statement.
PAC also appealed to Malawians to co-exist peacefully.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :