“Say Sorry,” High Court orders Sembereka to apologies to Ben Phiri

The High Court in Lilongwe has given Brussels-bound ambassadorial appointee, Reverend McDonald Sembereka up to 22 July this year to apologise to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) senior official, Ben Phiri over an allegation that Phiri was involved in the petrol bombing of the then HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo’s house in 2019.

The court has convicted and ordered Sembereka to pay a sum of K800,000 in legal costs.

Rev Sembereka: Told to swallow his pride and apologise to Ben Phiri

What led the whole saga prior to elections was that some people bombed part of HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo’s residence in Area 3 in the capital, Lilongwe, damaging vehicles packed there but luckily, Mtambo escaped unscathed in the botched-up the assassination attempt.

Awaken by the ambush, the HRDC organised a media briefing in Lilongwe that the petrol-bombers had targeted to kill Mtambo alleging that they were sponsored by Ben Phiri describing him a murderer and a thief.

One of the speakers and a member of HRDC, Reverend MacDonald Sembereka stated publicly that the erstwhile – now former – Local Government minister and Thyolo Central legislator, Ben Phiri and others in the DPP were allegedly linked to the unlawful activities that occurred at the residence of Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo, the then HRDC Chairperson.

Sembereka, who has since been appointed as a diplomat to Malawi Embassy in Brussels, Belgium went on to say that Ben Phiri, who was ousted former president Peter Arthur Mutharika close ally, will do anything for the DPP to stick to power because they want to continue looting this country and perpetrate violence among Malawians.

Sembereka, however, says he will abide by the court’s order to ensure the matter is sorted out.

The case has since been adjourned to July 22, 2021.

Timothy Mtambo was at the time the Chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), a local Non-Governmental Organisation working to defend human rights and he was also the executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) as well as the vice chairperson of Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network.

Mtambo has had been instrumental in leading post-election protests following the May 2019 General Elections and and June 2020 Presidential elections, calling for the Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign from her position over allegations of mismanaging the election.

Mtambo’s home was petrol-bombed in what was believed to be a targeted move to stop mass demonstrations planned against the country’s electoral body.

Three bombs were thrown at the car and home of Timothy Mtambo, the chairman of Malawi’s Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), and the executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRC).

Tens of thousands of Malawians took to the streets across Malawi for close to a to demonstrate against the management of the election.

The Mutharika led-government accused the protesters of damaging property and looting and has had to sought court injunctions to stop the demonstrations but they were vacated.

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