Africa-Press – Malawi. The Action Against Impunity (AAI) has alleged that Human Rights Activist Joshua Chisa Mbele and others were severely assaulted at the Lilongwe Police Station before they were scattered to various police stations across Lilongwe.
In a statement yesterday, AAI representatives Sylvester Namiwa and Leonard Chimbanga said the conduct of the police signifies a failed state. However, Lilongwe Police spokesperson, Hastings Chigalu has rejected the claims saying nothing of that sort happened at the police formation.
But the activists in the statement have bemoaned the conduct of the police especially in the current democratic dispensation and have since appealed for an immediate release of the activists who have been arrested.
“AAI is hereby demanding the unconditional release of its members and the lead organizer of the recently held peaceful demonstrations, Activist Mbele and others. AAI would like to register its dismay that the Malawi police which is known for its resource constraints suddenly got resources to scatter the protesters whose only crime was to stand firm in the fight against corruption, the sole reason of the stagnation of the country’s social and economic prosperity, as well as the dehumanizing poverty in Malawi,” reads the statement in part.
According to the statement, Mbele has been moved from Lilongwe to Namitete police station for no apparent reason, a situation which the activists feel is an infringement of his right to access decent meals.
“The police made this decision with the full knowledge that police stations do not provide food to suspects, therefore it could be very difficult for the Salima based activist to have access to decent meals from his family members while in custody. This is a clear violation of his basic right to food.”
Chisa Mbele and others, according to AAI, are yet to be charged let alone to be told the reasons for their arrests. It is further reported that due to the merciless assault, Mr. Mbele’s phone got heavily damaged to an extent that he has lost all the contacts and is now incommunicado thereby denying him the right to meet family members and time to access legal representation.
The authors of the statement feel that the state is victimizing activists that are fighting against corruption when at the same time government is providing VIP treatment to those alleged to be implicated in the endemic corruption.
“This begs a question as to whether President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration and his Tonse Alliance government has changed its position on zero tolerance against corruption, and they are now promoting the vice?
“AAI would like to further condemn in strongest terms the total blackout on the whereabouts of the other activists after confirmation of their arrests,” reads the statement.
Several others including Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa have condemned the conduct of the police saying is undemocratic and archaic.