‘Release HRDC leaders’: Regional group demands Malawi government

Southern Africa Human Defenders Network (SAHRDN) has expressed concern over what it calls “arbitrary arrests” of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) members Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka in Lilongwe on Sunday.

Trapence (L) and Sembereka: Under arrest

The two were arrested barely hours President Peter Mutharika warned HRDC leaders against plotting anarchy.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera has issued a statement Monday morning, stating that  HRDC group is accused of contravening the Police Act by unlawfully mobilising people to shut state residences — the official home of the Head of State.

HRDC have been holding nationwide protests since the Malawi Electoral Commission announced the results of last May’s disputed elections in which Mutharika was declared winner with 35.8 percent of the vote.

The organisation in Lilongwe on Friday vowed to shut down three state residences in a bid to force Mutharika to assent to electoral bills that were recently passed in parliament.

Giving a deadline of March 25, the HRDC’s Timothy Mtambo said at least five million people would be mobilised to shut down all state residences

In a statement, SAHRDN called on authorities in Malawi to “guarantee safety and security” of human rights defenders.

Local governance expert Makhumbo Munthali also called for the release of the activists.

“All these are sheer tactics aimed at instilling fear in the public but it will backfire,” Munthali told Nyasa Times.

Speaking on Sunday at a political rally in Blantyre, President Mutharika warned HRDC members against protest action around state residences on May 25.

“Be warned, your time is up, the party is over, get up and smell the coffee,” Mutharika said, adding that the organisation leaders were not bigger than the government.

Police said they  were still looking for the coalition’s chairperson Mtambo who is “on the run”.

Kadadzera said HRDC leaders will be brought before the court of law to eb dealt with  “in accordance with the law.”

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Malawi belong to the citizens
Guest

Munthalika should fire MEC commissioners, Why is he playing games with malawians?

Old timers
Guest
Old timers

Mtambo, on the run, Jail is not good, surrender yourself to the police and be brave the way you did on you thought you are above the law.

NZERU NKUPANGWA
Guest
NZERU NKUPANGWA

The president was of course illadvised to make the said sentiments. However, shutting down state residencies or threatening the same is tantamount to treason and therefore the activists have a case to answer. If i contravene any law of the land i will and should be arrested and so should the activists!

Chilungamo Chimawawa
Guest
Chilungamo Chimawawa

MUTHARIKA IS A COWARD. HE KNOWS HE CAN’T WIN CLEAN ELECTIONS HENCE HE WANTS TO START VIOLENCE SO HE CAN CLING TO POWER. MUTHARIKA IS A MAFIA IN MAKING!!!!

Mwaulambia
Guest
Mwaulambia

Watsala m,busa levi jiwombole nyondo kuno lku mzuzu. zaninge muzakatikakileko chimliska chifiwiti ichi, muzacheke matongo

George Malemu
Guest
George Malemu

But it`s not not true that the HRDC press briefing took place at Crossroads Hotel as indicated in the press release by Mr Kadadzera

hewe
Guest

This called SAHRDN is a very stupid organization. where were they when savages were destroying peoples property here . damaging national buildings and now they are coming to back these fools. you are stupid SAHRDN . IDIOTS

Ussm
Guest
Ussm

Looking at another biggest full in the name of the writer. Where did you hear that fighting for freedom doesn’t damage stuff. Damaging is only way your fellow can hear

Mukuonari
Guest
Mukuonari

We shall when time for noting is on and many people will go to jail. Change is coming very soon. There is nothing the Judges have gone wrong to earn an insult by dpp.

Mina
Guest
Mina

This is just politics Mutharika is scared of human rights defenders coalition since they are fighting for the people’s rights. No wonder they’ve arrested them ordered by Peter yesterday at njamba freedom park in Blantyre backwards never

Zofu
Guest
Zofu

Mitambo ndiye ndiwe zoba mpaka kuthawa so you fear kumangwidwa??????

Mike
Guest
Mike

Mtombo umaoneka Ngati ndiwe opanda Matha bt mmmm nde munthu opanda mphavu

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