There is freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constititution but there is no freedom after speech as Malawians fear to publicly condemn the President and security forces .This is one finding from a survey showing Malawi are increasingly dissatisfied with the state of the country’s democracy; the majority say they cannot criticise the Head of State.
The survey, run by Afrobarometer, is based on data collected from 1200 adult Malawians dated November 29 2017. Led by Center for Social Research, the Afrobarometer survey was conducted between December 2016 and January 2017.
It says a majority of Malawians (53 percent) say they have to be careful what they say about politics.
“Yet a majority say that in the years preceding the survey, Malawians were gaining greater freedom to function in political and civil society organisations,” reads part of the survey’s report titled ‘Malawians Increasingly Cuatious about Exercising right to Free Political Speech.’
It says that while 77 percent of Malawins feel “somewhat free” to say what they think, the proportion of those who feel “completely free” has dropped by 29 percentage since 2014 to 48 percent.
The survey was led by lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Joseph Chunga, who is also a researcher for the university’s Centre for Social Research (CSR).
He conducted the survey with Thomas Isbell, who they are both doctorate students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Malawians were asked: In your opinion, how often, in this country, do people have to be careful of what they say about politics?
The survey reports that Malawians don’t feel free to be critical of the government or its agents. More than two-thirds of Malawians reported not feeling free to criticize Mutharika and more than half said they didn’t feel free to criticize their member of parliament.
But government spokesman Nicholous Dausi dismissed the survey as “ wrong” and “erroneous”
“I don’t think the survey reflects the actual situation. President Professor Peter Mutharika has experienced criticism, ridicule and name calling and Malawians are freely to say anything.
The sample has a confidence level of 95% and a 3% error margin, according to the researchers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :