Malawi Police Arrest Activists after Call for Anti-government Protests

Malawi Police Arrest Activists after Call for Anti-government Protests

The arrest of Mtambo and his colleagues

Timothy Mtambo, the leader of Human Rights Defenders Coalition surrendered to the Malawian police on Tuesday at the country’s capital. Thousands of enthusiasts showed up demonstrating their support for him. The arrest preceded an earlier issued arrest warrant by the Malawian authorities. The warrant was issued two days after his plan of anti-government protests within the month.

 The police were in search of him since Sunday when they managed to arrest two of his colleagues ie Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka. The two were accused of inciting violence.

President Mutharika fails to accept the verdict from above

Most of the protests in the streets of Malawi were sparked by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition group. Especially last year’s demonstrations. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of the then elected president, Peter Mutharika. They believed that the elections were allegedly manipulated and hence he didn’t deserve to be in power.

Thus Malawi’s supreme court intervened over the matter. In May 2019, the court decided to cancel the elections and ordered new elections within 150 days. The parliament approved a bill in favor of the verdict while president Mutharika appealed. Thus not in agreement with the verdict. Nonetheless, Matamba vowed to keep up the tension as the president refused to sign the bill. He promised to call on 5million people to shut down the president’s residence if he failed to act by March 25th. 

President Mutharika’s warning to unauthorized acts

During a political rally in one of his strongholds,President Mutharika condemned the frequent protests steered by the right activists. He cautioned saying their time was up. likewise, the constitution prohibits such illegal acts.

“The nation should be informed that section124 of the penal code prohibits any person to incite or solicit another to break any law,” read a statement from the office of the inspector general.

“By inciting people to seal the State Residences on 25th March 2020, the three committed an offense under section 124 of the penal code.”

Amnesty International condemned the “deeply troubling” arrests.

On a statement issued on Monday, Amnesty International rebuked frequent violations of human rights to the activists. Deprose Muchene, the chair of east and southern Africa’s amnesty said human rights activists were exposed to threats from influential government officials. For instance, president Arthur Mutharika and his senior colleagues are fond of threatening Malawian activists.

He demanded the Malawian government to set free the arrested activists immediately. Describing the act as an intimidation, harassment, and threatening of human rights defenders. Since the country is democratic, the people should be allowed to freely exercise their rights.

Charles Kajoloweka a member of HRDC and youth leader said that arresting of the activists was unjust especially as was organized by political partisans. He said the act was an attempt by the government to silence a critical voice. Hence they won’t allow a corrupt regime to control them.

Government’s reaction on the release of the activists

The government spokesperson,Mark Botomani said that the government dismissed the allegations. Stating that the activists engaged in unauthorized acts and as such deserved to be punished. He added that regardless of being human rights activists they still are expected to obey the law.



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