Chakwera demands release of activists

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Dr Lazarus Chakwera has threatened to organize a march to State Residences to force the release of activists Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka.

In a statement on Monday, Chakwera demanded the release of the activists within 48 hours.

“I will personally galvanize all peace-loving and law-abiding Malawians to march on the State House of which he (President Peter Mutharika) is a temporary tenant and camp there until these innocent activists are released,” Chakwera said.

The two and other members of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) were set to seal state residences on March 25 to force Mutharika to appoint new Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners who can manage the upcoming elections.

Their arrest on Sunday followed public threats by President Peter Mutharika and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials at a political rally in Blantyre.

In a statement on Monday, Malawi Police Service Public Relations Officer James Kadadzera said the activists were arrested in relation to statements made during their press briefing in Lilongwe on March 6, 2020.

Kadadzera said they have another warrant of arrest for HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.

He said the law prohibits sealing of a state residence unless they breach the provisions of section 103 of the Police Act.

“The three suspects are fully aware that section 103 of the Police Act prohibits any demonstrations or assemblies within a hundred metres from state residences unless the same have been permitted by the State President,” Kadadzera said.

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