One commentator on Facebook opined that this scenario “doesn’t add to anything sensible”, saying “to begin with, Namiwa stays along the Nathenje road (so it is said)” and secondly, “this strange guy rushed to the scene to get Namiwa to hospital.
The public has gone on social media to poke fun at the casual and nonchalant appearance of executive director for Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), Slyvester Namiwa, whose organisation reported that he was alleged abducted yesterday afternoon by unknown assailants.
People quickly summed it up as CDEDI’s staged stunt and liked it to Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua’s self-styled abduction in 2017 during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
Reports on social and main stream media quotes quotes CDEDI spokesperson, Edwin Mauluka confirming that Namiwa has been found but declined to shed more information saying the organization is currently working with the police on the matter.
Postings on Facebook shows Namiwa sitting down under a lousy grass thatched shed with a young man, who is reported to have discovered the human rights activist in bushes of Nathenje Bush — but none is taking this serious, saying this was just a self abduction to buy public sympathy.
An audio clip accompanies one Facebook post, reportedly produced by someone who claims to be a taxi driver, who says the young man who found Namiwa is his brother.
This young man is reported have been on his way from a farm and discovered Namiwa seated by roadside and upon asking him what he was doing there, the abductee is reported to have responded that didn’t know how he got there.
The young man then calls his taxi driver brother in town, who then produces the audio whilst driving to rescue with instructions to take him to a hospital.
“As who? Namiwa is declared abducted. Was it not better for this stranger to inform the police?”
Thus more commentators likened this as pure drama that was re-enacted by Kamlepo Kalua back then in 2017 while others were of the opinion that Namiwa has “foolishly” soiled the image of CDEDI’s leadership.
Namiwa was legally barred from organising or participating in any demos as part of his bail condition in a case he is accused of organising an illegal protest last year, and the public believes he staged the abduction to escape being part of the demos in order to avoid contempt of the court.
Following all the furore that sorrounded the alleged abduction, some critics of the government attacked the Tonse Alliance government, accusing it of been part of the plot to muzzle CDEDI’s intention to demonstrate.
This also forced the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Chakwera to order the Malawi Police to investigate the matter, who worked around the clock to establish Namiwa’s whereabouts and have the culprits brought to book.
Speaking in Parliament this afternoon, Minister of Homeland Security, Jean Sendeza accused the DPP of staging Namiwa’s abduction and also of bringing people from Thyolo to do demonstrations in Lilongwe that ended in mayhem of looting and vandalism.
She also defended the presence of people carrying weapons in Lilongwe today, saying they were only trying to protect their businesses if the demonstration was to go ahead.
Meanwhile, the demonstration, which was pushing for President Chakwera to remove his presidential immunity against prosecution, were called-off and instead the organizers presented their petition to the Lilongwe District Commissioner’s office in the absence of other protesters that had gathered around Lilongwe Community Centre.
There was heavy police and Malawi Defence Force (MDF) presence with armed vehicles and water cannons patrolling the venue where the protestors had gathered and one of the organizers, Mundango Nyirenda is quoted by the media as attributing the sudden change to Namiwa’s alleged abduction.
At the end of the day, if Namiwa is indeed proven to have staged his own abduction, he created a scenario which might leave several regretting some of the sentiments they made.
The DPP accused Chakwera’s MCP of going back to its style of leadership during its “dark days of the one party era — which was characterized by abductions, killing and unlawful detention of its opponents”.
While demanding that Namiwa be immediately released alive and that the alleged abductors be arrested and prosecuted with speed, the DPP also further likened the alleged abduction to the abduction and killing of the late Aaron Gadama, Dick Matenje, Twaibu Sangala and David Chiwanga, in 1983 during the MCP’s one party era.
“When Malawians voted for the MCP Government on 23rd June, 2020, they did not expect that the MCP would take Malawi back to the dark days of the one party era,” said the DPP in a statement issued by its director of legal affairs, Charles Mhango
“But gradually, Malawians are realizing that they voted for a party which stands on principles of intimidation and ruthless crashing of dissent.”
The DPP further maintained that it is “very clearly” that Chakwera’s MCP government “has declared war against Malawians who protest the failed leadership through demonstrations, yet the MCP government came into power after a series of violent demonstrations following the 2019 tripartite elections”.
The party also said Namiwa’s alleged abduction comes “barely seven days after the arrest of the leaders of Human Rights Ambassadors on July 20 in Lilongwe” when their planned demonstrations were stopped by a court injunction and when the already gathered protestors still went ahead with it that eventually led to mayhem of looting and vandalism.
While maintaining that freedom to demonstrate is entrenched in the Republic’s Constitution and that the country’s courts have re-enforced the inviolability of freedom to demonstrate, the DPP said “it is clear that the MCP Government has now resorted to abduction as a weapon for dealing with dissent”.
The party called upon Malawians to rise up and protest against this government and also asked the “international community to intervene before Malawi enters another dark age and slides back into the pre-multi-party era of 1964 to 1993 under the MCP”.
In his response President Chakwera said he was disturbed by the alleged abduction while asking the Police to speed up investigations on the matter until “Namiwa’s safety is restored, his captors are brought to justice and that Malawians are informed of the truth regarding the alleged abduction”.
A statement by presidential press secretary, Anthony Kasunda said Chakwera maintained that alleged abduction “is against his leadership principles under the [the MCP’s] Super Hi5, which is the rule of law” and that he “remains resolute in his commitment to fight any forces challenging government efforts to keep Malawi a free-society in which every citizen enjoys their rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi”.
“The President, therefore, condemns this lawless act,” Kasunda said, while DPP’s estranged vice-president for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa said if anything bad happened to Namiwa, he would hold the government responsible.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson, Gift Trapence as well as Forum for National Development also joined the condemnation of the alleged abduction.
Meanwhile, the alleged abductee maintains that Chakwera is a threat to democracy and vows never to relent in speaking the truth for the voiceless, he said in a video trending on social media immediately after receiving medical treatment at the ABC Clinic in Lilongwe.
“This is simply an attempt to silence critical voices but I will not keep quiet,” he said but did not provide details of what happened for his alleged abduction, saying he must speak to his lawyers and family first.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :