VP condemns ‘spy machine’, court stops rollout

Malawi’s Vice President Joyce Banda says government recent acquisition of a spy machine is unconstitutional and a violation of people’s right to privacy.

Banda, speaking during People’s Party (PP) regional launch held at Katoto Freedom Park in Mzuzu on Saturday, said there are high chances of the machine being abused because there is no real freedom in Malawi.

“I know such machines exist elsewhere in the world. But in those countries these machines work very well because there is freedom there unlike here. Many people will be arrested on trumped up charges because of that spy machine,” Banda said.

High Court has meanwhile stopped government from using the Call Detail Record (CDRs) from telecom operators to roll-out the US$6.8 phone hacking project.

Joyce Banda: Phone hacking is unconstitutional

CDRs provide detailed information including who called which number; details of calls received; time and duration of calls; location where call was made or received; SMS sent and received; type of handset used and other detailed subscriber information.

Lawyer Ralph Kasambara confirmed that Justice Healy Potani granted the injunction to stop Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) from rolling out the machine.

The Vice President said she does not fear anybody except God adding that she is ready to be arrested or die “because I swore to serve Malawians without fear or favour.”

The Veep then outlined her party’s social development programme that will be unveiled before the end of October dubbed ‘Better homes for Malawians’.

She said many people in villages are living in houses with plastic sheets because it is becoming increasingly difficult even to find grass for thatching their houses.

“We want people to have iron sheets on their houses and it is possible and together we shall to it,” Banda challenged.

She said PP’s symbol – a Lock and Key – is bold attempt to unlock Malawi’s potential in every sector so that people could be prosperous.

“Zambia next door has a higher per capita of US$3,500 and Malawi is still doddering around US$1,800 or there about. There is wealth in this country,” Banda said.

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