HRDC defends activists turned diplomats

HRDC defends activists turned diplomats
HRDC defends activists turned diplomats

Africa-PressMalawi. Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has applauded its members for exercising their rights by accepting diplomatic appointments. Three HRDC members – Billy Mayaya, Luke Tembo and McDonald Sembereka – are among people appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera to serve in foreign missions across the world.

In a statement today, HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said the grouping HRDC believes in rights, including the alienable right to making choices. “It is our conviction that by accepting the diplomatic appointments, these former HRDC members have duly exercised that right and we applaud them for that and respect their choice.

“As it were, being the voluntary organisation that HRDC is, members are at liberty to exercise the right to leave when they deem it appropriate consequently opening doors for other equally skilled members to pick up the mantle,” said Trapence.

He added that the mandate and mission of the HRDC will not be affected by the appointments of its members as diplomats. According to Trapence, HRDC remains steadfast in its quest to hold government to account and provide checks and balances in a bid to ensure a transparent and accountable democracy in Malawi.

“While we understand the concerns and appreciate the apparent apprehension among Malawians, we would like to assure the nation that nothing has changed at HRDC in terms of policy, principle, direction and mission,” said Trapence.

The HRDC gained prominence through its fight against rights abuses during the Peter Mutharika administration when Lazarus Chakwera was in opposition. There were concerns that the grouping, by opposing the Mutharika administration, had gotten close to Chakwera and had turned into his ally.

After Chakwera became president, former HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo was given the newly created Ministry of Unity and Civic Education which was also seen by some as political appeasement.


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