In a press release made available to the Maravi Post, The National Advocacy Platform (NAP) says would like to strongly condemn the attack on Mr. Mtambo’s property by the unknown people who petrol bombed his property in the early morning of 15th August 2019. Mr. Mtambo is both the Chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, and he has been playing steady leadership to the ongoing demonstrations against the purported rigged elections.
Nap presser continued to READ, we are aware that the plans to attack him and other HRDs have been rife for some time. NAP regards the attack as acts of cowardice by those who do not believe in dissent and democracy. These brutal attacks against Human Rights Defenders are reminiscent of dictatorial regimes and therefore, outlandish to democracy.
Malawi as a party to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders is under obligation to ensure the freedom of human rights defenders to act without interference, intimidation, abuse, threat, violence, reprisal or undue restriction. We therefore reiterate our belief and conviction that there can be no realization of human rights without human rights defenders whose sacrifice and courageous voices contribute to peace, security, justice, rule of law and sustainable development. NAP stands with Mr. Mtambo and all other Human Rights Defenders across the divide. We further declare that we will hold government to account should anything happen to him or any other human rights defender. This is the case because the State under our Constitution and international law has the obligation to safeguard the right to life of everyone including human rights defenders.
More regrettably, these attacks have been widespread in recent times. Amidst post-election protests, incidences of violence are on the increase as thugs are taking advantage to damage property and attack innocent people. We have seen the bombing of offices, torching of houses and yet the country’s top leadership seem to be indifferent.
We therefore call upon the Head of the State and Presidents of political parties to commit to dialogue in ending the current impasse.
Considering that these attacks on Mr. Mtambo follow the well calculated to purpose anti-HRDC campaign, we call upon the Malawi Police and security services to investigate, apprehend and prosecute those behind the attack. We also appeal to the Malawi Human Rights Commission to independently investigate such attacks as they erode the gains we have made in human rights promotion and protection in this country. NAP reserves its resolute commitment to demand accountability from all those who ought to intervene in the matter.
Mtambo however has been blamed by many observers for leading demonstrations that have destroyed properties and at times have been very violent. It was reported that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officer was spotted by angry anti-Jane Ansah demonstrators who accused her of being a spy saying she was taking notes of those involved in the protest.
The officer was overpowered by the protestors when she tried to run away and was attacked and left naked. She was saved by a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier who rushed to the scene and covered her with a man’s shirt.
Many people therefore are saying Mtambo is getting a taste of his own medicine. It is only fair that he feels what others have felt by his hand.