By Victoria Milanzi
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has condemned the arrest of Bon Kalindo saying it is politically motivated.
The coalition has learnt with dismay the arrest of lawmaker Bon Kalindo allegedly for conduct likely to cause breach of peace and insulting the president.
According to the statement released by the coalition, the arrest is politically motivated Kalindo must be released.
” Without prejudice to the due processes of the court, we at Human Rights Defenders Coalition contend that the government should not only stop using but also repeal archaic laws that were designed to protect one-party dictatorships. These laws have no place whatsoever in democratic dispensation.
We call upon government to suspend implementation of Section 4 of the of the Protected Flags, Emblem and Names Act as read together with section 181 of the Penal Code; these provision criminalizes insulting the state President,” it stated.
It further highlighted that over the years they have witnessed how government has employed this archaic to muzzle and silence critics. In accordance to this they recall, a number of instances how the DPP government has used, and often unsuccessfully, this law to silence its critics; in August 2018, the DPP government pounced on President Peter Mutharika’s niece Abiti Manice and charged her with insulting the president-the case has since been discontinued; In February 2018, Mike Suide, a primary school teacher was given a 12 month suspended sentence for mocking the president, in 2015 60 year old Alinafe Paul was arrested, charged and fined MK3000 for insulting the president, a security officer for a private company was also arrested on the same archaic charge.
The statement which has been signed by
Timothy Mtambo Gift Trapence
HRDC National Chairperson HRDC National Vice Chairperson
Happy Mhango – Regional Chair North Madalitso Banda – Regional Chair East Masauko Thawe – Regional Chair South Billy Mayaya – Regional Chair Centre says they have noted a very serious and worrisome trend in these arrests, government targets either those that are very critical or those are poor. On the other hand these archaic laws are applied selectively as we have often noted that this law spares those that sympathizes y with the power that be.
” We recall how government is timid to use this law of the DPP hooligans that caused havoc at Parliament in JUNE 2018 and at recently at Kawale Police.
The HRDC would like to remind all duty bearers in particular Government and ruling DPP that the Republican Constitution gives each and every person and legitimate organisation rights to freely associate and speak on matters of national concern. We would like to point out that when citizens raise issues, they are aimed at helping the duty bearers to do the right things,” it highlights.
It also says that
Government is arresting citizens to silence state critics will not only reflect badly on the governing elite, but will go down towards creating a society bent on revenge, violence and which does not respect the rule of law.