The United Democratic Front (UDF) party has asked the authorities to reconstitute the State-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) and appoint a Commission of inquiry in the wake of what it calls incidents of abuse of human rights perpetuated by political violence in the country.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times signed by UDF publicist Ken Ndanga, the party say courts alone cannot get down to the real cause of the incidents of political violence which has so far claimed two lives.
“We are fully aware that the Nsundwe murder suspects and others are currently in court and we have confidence in the independence of our judiciary.
The UDF statement comes after violent protests of October 8 2019 that claimed the life of a police officer at Nsundwe on the outskirts of Lilongwe City. And there are now serious allegations of police brutality, including starving the suspects for three days, sexual harassment and rape of some suspects’ wives and school girls in boarding schools.
However, the UDF is of the view that the courts alone will not be able dig deeper in terms of the real issues which are motivating young people to be involved in “thuggery activities.”
UDF says the spate of violence in the country is a clear indication that the country is slowly losing its trademark as the Warm Heart of Africa.
The party further say while, demonstration are right it suspects that the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) protests demanding Jane Ansah to resign as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, have been infiltrated by elements who have high jacked the good intentions of the organisers.
On this the UDF advises HRDC to reflect on the development and go back to the drawing board.
“For whatever reasons we should not sacrifice the democratic gains we have achieved over the years,” reads the statement.
In the statement, the UDF which ruled Malawi under the new multiparty dispensation cautions the youths to reject any attempts by individuals to use them as tools of political violence.
UDF said considering the manner in which the violence is happening in the country, there are all indications that it has the potential to degenerate into a more serious social unrest which may claim more lives and damage or loss of properties belonging to innocent Malawians.
The party said there is need to establish through a commission of inquiry what actually led to the death of police officer Usumani Imedi and “ascertain the veracity of the rumours flying around.
UDF also calls for appointing authority to expedite the reconstitution of the Malawi Human Rights Commission “so that it can begin to function at this moment of need.”
Meanwhile, MHRC is slowly being crippled financially and in terms of personnel, making it difficult to undertake some of its core constitutional functions.
MHRC executive secretary David Nungu confirmed that the organisation is under-funded.
“As a constitutionally set up organisation mandated to protect human rights and investigate all forms of human rights abuses in our country, we are running on a K1.2 billion budget against an ideal budget we had earlier proposed of K1.5 billion. We are overwhelmed with the work at hand just now,” said Nungu in quotes reported in the press.
According to the Constitution of Malawi, MHRC is mandated to protect and promote human rights in the country in the broader sense possible and investigate violations of human rights on its own or upon receiving complaints from any person, class of persons or body.
Commentators say MHRC deserves to be fully-funded to ensure that it fulfils its constitutional mandate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :