26 September 2017

Malawi: MCTU to Report Malawi Govt to ILO in Geneva - Demands Minister Chiumia's Apology Over 'Barbaric Acts'

Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has demanded an open apology from Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia and government spokesperson condemning Chiumia's conduct where she ordered the arrest of 14 National Registration Bureau otherwise they will take the matter to Geneva during International Labour Organization General Assembly.

MCTU is also demanding immediate payment of the concerned workers' salaries and arrears and professionalism on the part of police.

Speaking during a news conference, MCTU General Secretary, Denis Kalekeni gave government until 30 September to make public apology or else the body will report the government to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Association an arm of ILO which looks at disciplinary issues on freedom of association among its members States.

"We want government o condemn these barbaric acts, or else, MCTU shall have no option but to include these actions in our report to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Association for government to appear before the committee next year in June during the International Labour Conference," said MCTU secretary general Dennis Kalekeni, reading from a statement which he co-signed with the body's president Luther Mambala.

Minister Chiumia has been in the headlines for wrong reasons since accompanied by armed police officers; she ambushed NRB officers holding a meeting in Mzuzu to demand arrears dating back to May 2017.

She then ordered the arrest of the officials, where 14 were kept in custody and charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit a felony. They were later granted bail by police.

Kalekeni described the arrest of NRB staff as violation of human rights and demand "an immediate action by government on this issue."

He said: "The Minister of Home Affairs should make a public apology on her unbecoming conduct. The conduct of the minister and the police is barbaric, retrogressive and a threat to freedom of assembly and association.

"The minister or the police have no power to abrogate right of Malawi's Constitution."

MCTU also asked President Peter Mutharika to deal wtih Minister Chiumia for "taiting the image of Malawi in as far as human rights is concerned."

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