Malawi: Dausi Says No DPP Role for Petrol-Bomb At Mtambo's House - Amnesty Internation Condemn Cowdly Act

16 August 2019

The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson Nicholas Dausi has expressed worry over the allegations made by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) that the party was responsible for the petrol-bombing of a house belonging to HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.

Dausi: There is no way DPP can be involved in such violence

Mtambo, who is also Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director, had his house petrol-bombed in the early hours of Thursday. He and his family managed to escape.

HRDC leadership said at a news conference in Lilongwe on Thursday that it suspects three Cabinet ministers Dausi, Ben Phiri and Charles Mchacha - to have masterminded the plot and DPP operatives Ben Khuleya and Maya Maluwato have effected the petrol-bombing.

The vice-chairperson of HRDC Gift Trapence said thugs went to Mtambo's house on a killing mission, adding that the petrol bombs they threw landed on a car which got half burnt.

According to him, thugs threw four petrol bombs into the house premises, with one thrown at the gate apparently with the objective of preventing Mtambo's family from fleeing to safety.

But Dausi said the HRDC allegations against DPP officials are baseless and malicious, saying the party officials are clean from any act of violence.

"As government, we are worried that what happened to him [Mtambo] is a criminal act. But there is no way the ruling party can be involved in such violence," said Dausi.

"We have been speaking against violence and we have been complaining about the same, so how can we do that?"

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed the cops found a VW Pollo vehicle burnt and damaged half way and that they investigating the matter.

While local groups the National Advocacy Platform (NAP) and the Joint Civil Society Platform on Governance have condemned the attack on Mtambo, describing it as cowardice, Amnesty International has also added its voice.

Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said: "This cowardly and malicious attack on Timothy Mtambo's property is a clear act of intimidation, designed to deter him from carrying out his human rights work. Timothy and his family narrowly escaped harm after three petrol bombs were thrown into his compound. One hit and torched his car while the second was thrown at the gate and the last narrowly missed his house.

"There must be no stone left unturned in pursuit of those wwho are behind this attack. The authorities must launch a prompt, impartial and effective investigation and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials.

"The incident comes weeks after Timothy received threats for organizing demonstrations over allegations of mismanagement of the May 21 elections. The Malawian authorities must stop singling out critical voices for attack, and instead commit to respecting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."

Last week, unknown thugs, suspected to be DPP cadets, burned offices belonging to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) vice-president Sidik Mia at his Cold Storage company in Blantyre. In late August last year, HRDC offices were torched by unknown thugs who also injured a security guard in Lilongwe.

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