Malawi Human Rights Defenders Have Lost Trust in Police

14 October 2019

The chairperson for the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Timothy Mtambo said the civil society organisations (CSOs) actively involved in human rights activism and have lost trust in the Malawi Police Services.

Mtambo: We have lost confidence in the Malawi police

The gun and petrol bomb attack survivor said he reported his recent attack from suspected regime thugs to police as a matter of formality through human rights defenders have lost trust in the system.

Mtambo, who has been at the centre of anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations and his colleagues, last Friday survived a gun attack from assassins who were trailing him with six bullets hitting his car, but remained unhurt.

He said Malawi police did not seem willing to help activists when issues have been reported to them, citing the petrol bomb at his house and another incident at Crossroads Hotel where there was an alleged attempt to bomb a car of one of the activists.

"We have lost confidence in the Malawi police," said Mtambo.

He said rights defenders have reported to them so many issues but there has been inaction, especially when perpetrators of the violence are known to be ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadres.

Mtambo said Police are yet to arrest perpetrators of the violence that left human rights activist Billy Mayaya and four others injured following clashes between DPP youth cadets and HRDC-mobilised protesters in Blantyre

"The Billy Mayaya incident was reported to them, but nothing has happened," he said.

Video clips went viral showing Mayaya being attacked by some youth in DPP regalia with on Jomo Osman a DPP militia conspicuously seen. Previously, suspects have been rounded up using similar video clips.

The failure to arrest perpetrators of violence in Blantyre comes amid perceptions that the law enforcers develop cold feet when it comes to acting on crimes involving DPP supporters.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera assured HRDC that the police is committed to protecting human rights activists just like the rest of the public.

Meanwhile, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has since condemned the attack on Mtambo and appealed to government to provide maximum protection to rights activists, especially at the time the country continues to witness incidences of political violence.

MHRC executive secretary David Nungu said such attacks will affect efforts to bring peace and reconciliation, appealing to all concerned parties to exercise restraint.

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