State rights body, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has launched an investigation into the petrol bombing of vocal civil rights activist Timothy Mtambo’s offices last week.
MHRC executive secretary David Nungu whose organization visited the offices of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), offices of Mtambo on Monday, declared that an attack on one civil right activist is an attack on all civil rights activists.
“We will work with the police to ensure that the perpetrators face the law. This is a criminal matter. The police are competent enough to handle this matter,” said Nungu.
The thugs also hacked a guard at the offices after he refused to give them directions to the residence of Mtambo.
In an interview later, Mtambo maintained that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadet roughnecks were behind the petrol bombing.
He said the ruling party wants him and other activists to stop demanding transparency, accountability and good governance from president Peter Mutharika.
Mtambo said the staff are now working in fear following the petrol bomb attack.
“But we are not going to surrender, we will continue to do our work without fear or favour,” he said.
He said CHRR will cooperate with the MHRC on the investigations so that the culprits are taken to book.
Meanwhile, the National Advocacy Platform (NAP) is an inclusive coalition of over 65 civil society and citizen groups in Malawi set to track the formulation and implementation of policy instruments in pursuance of freedoms and human rights enshrined therei, has added its voice to condemn the CHRR office attack.
NAP says in a statement signed by its board chairperson Benedicto Kondowe that it firmly hold that the attacks are retrogressive as well as a calculated move to instill fear among human rights defenders in the discharge of their noble cause.
It reads: “NAP is fully aware that the said attempted attack was as a result of CHRR’s continued advocacy role in demanding accountability, good governance and rule of law, and it is therefore undoubtedly compelling that this attack is reasonably directly linked to fully hatched “ndizawanyenyanyenya operation” (literally meaning I will deal with them).”
NAP said the petrol bomb attempt and attack of the guard at CHRR offices is a remiscence of the old party regime where dissent attracted murder at the hands of government.
The organisation said it rejects “this calculated trajectory into the past, and that any attempt to rekindle such memories will be met with unprecedented resistance that this country has never seen before.”
The statement calls on ruling DPP to exonerate itself from this barbaric act based on its earlier utterances against critics.
“We therefore categorically remind the DPP government that no government is greater than the entities that constitute it. For this reason, we further wish to put on record that an attack on innocent Malawians or human rights defenders is an attack on all Malawians. It is a sign of absence of government because truly speaking no responsible government would condone direct attack against dissent in a multi-party democracy,” says the statement.
NAP pointed out that some regime attacks such as the arson of 2011 for the same CHRR as well as those targeting activist Rafiq Hajat, Rev. MacDonald Sembereka, legislators . Boni Kalindo, and Jessie Kabwira have never seen light by the end of the day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :