Police in Thyolo on Friday 19th February 2021 blocked Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives [CDEDI] Interim Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, from addressing landless people that had gathered at Khonjeni Trading Centre in the district.
Namiwa was taken to the estates offices for interrogation; questions about his involvement in the landless people issue of Thyolo and Mulanje districts and the Tea Estate owners.
Namiwa said he was unconditionally released after being detained for about 20 minutes and was allowed to address the landless people that were waiting for him.
He suspects that his arrest is in connection with his stand, speaking for the voiceless citizens who are crying for their land and do not have anywhere to cultivate crops, whilst all the land is in the hands of the British for tea growing in the two districts: Thyolo and Mulanje.
The CDEDI leader says he has been questioning the Tonse Alliance Government for failing to address the grievances of the landless citizens of Thyolo and Mulanje, but it seems the grievances have been swept under the carpet.
……”Several attempts have been made for Government to address their grievances, but Government has chosen to remain silent,’’…..lamented Namiwa.
Namiwa has become the second person to be arrested by the Tonse Government and later released unconditionally after former Kasungu West Parliamentarian, Hon. Alex Major, a diehard of the Malawi Congress Party [MCP].
Major was summoned to appear before Police headquarters, Area 30 in Lilongwe on the letter he authored carrying grievances for President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to address, claiming that all former parties MPS, the party’s National Executive and Members of Parliament [MPs] are in support of him.
Major said he was picked to Lingadzi Police Station where he was taken to the Capital Hill at the Ministry of Homeland Security for questioning and thereafter he was released and returned to his home in Area 49.
Muvi wa Chilungamo condemned in the strongest terms possible the arrest of Major reminding the Tonse Government of the 1994 declaration that never again shall Malawi be ruled by a dictator or going back to a one party state.
Its Commander in Chief, Bantu Saunders Jumah says freedom of expression, speech and assembly are enshrined in the Republican constitution of Malawi, saying no President, Minister has powers to violate this law.
Meanwhile, CDEDI has filed a letter to the Malawi Human Rights Commission [MHRC] appealing to it, to investigate alleged human rights violation reports on issues of police assault, grievous harm, sexual harassment , corporal punishment and detention without trial of unarmed men and women of Khonjeni trading centre and its surrounding villages: Kapichi, Salubeni, Beula and Ngamwani.
The incidents reported are said to have happened in the villages between 08 to 09 November 2020.
By Vincent Gunde