The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) campaign director Moses Kunkuyu have issued separate statements condemning continued post-election violence in the country.
This follows an incident last Wednesday where suspected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youths and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) protesters clashed during the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations in Blantyre.
In a press statement released Thursday and signed by national coordinator Boniface Chibwana, CCJP has challenged the office of the President and relevant Parliamentary committee(s) to urgently address the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) leadership saga which is the bone of contention in the protests.
The commission has also called on the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to investigate alleged cases of human rights violations perpetrated by police officers, MDF soldiers, DPP cadets and citizens during a spate of protests that have occurred since the May 21 elections.
He further called upon the Malawi Police Service to rise above partisan politics and put its house in order to adequately protect citizens at all times and reclaim the institution’s lost public trust.
According to Chibwana, the behavior by the country’s security agents has potential to encourage impunity and throw Malawi in a lawless and anungovernable society.
“Government’s blatant disregard for fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution and numerous international human rights instruments, which the country is party to, cannot go without condemnation. Squeezing the civic space for human rights defenders and muzzling the voice of citizens in their bid to seek justice runs counter to democratic tenets,” the statement reads in part.
Since the Mayb 21 2019 elections, Malawi has witnessed nationwide and district based demonstrations as citizens continue to demand electoral justice.
Chibwana singled out the quest for electoral justice as paramount in ensuring legitimacy of those entrusted to govern.
“It is therefore very unfortunate and saddening that the state authorities appear not to appreciate that Malawi’s democracy hinges on the Bill of Rights provided in Chapter IV of the Constitution of Malawi. State machinations and schemes orchestrated by the Malawi Police Service, Local Council Officials and the Office of the Attorney General, among others, in deliberately thwarting demonstrations is quite retrogressive. It is also a cause of concern that, at times, such demonstrations have turned violent characterized by running battles between the citizens and the state security authorities.”
On the other hand, Kunkuyu said following Wednesday’s incident, MCP has declared a complete loss of confidence in the Malawi Police Service and it’s yet to be confirmed Inspector General Duncan Mwapasa.
He has faulted the police for firing teargas at the children’s ward of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech) and at peaceful demonstrators in Blantyre and for standing on the sidelines to allow and watch the DPP cadets as they committed the crimes.
Describing the act as criminal and inhumane, Kunkuyu further criticised the DPP cadets for forming a lawless mob to obstruct, attack, and disperse the peaceful march for justice.
“What was wrong was for the mob of DPP cadets to rain stones upon the heads of the peaceful marchers and to injure Billy Mayaya, a human rights activist and other innocent Malawians. What was wrong was for the DPP cadets to throw stones on to the premises of the High Court to terrorize members of the Judiciary who work for justice there,” he said.