May 8, 2021

Journalist Watipaso Mzungu released unconditionally

Police at Area 30, in Lilongwe have released unconditionally Nyasa Times Journalist, Watipaso Mzungu, who on Tuesday was summoned to appear before police and was detained from around 8;00 -10:00 a.m where the police had to take his statement.

Mzungu was detained simply because he wrote a story in which he quoted the CDEDI Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa who described President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera as a joker and a time waster due to his failure to honour his public promises such as the announcement of a new Cabinet.

The summoning and detention of Mzungu comes after another journalist for Joy Media Group of Companies, Enock Balakasi was arbitrarily arrested and detained by Kawale police station officers.

In a statement signed by Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, CDEDI is reminding the Tonse Alliance Government under President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera that Malawi is no longer a one-party state which was characterized by rule of darkness, fear and death.

CDEDI says it looks at the detention of Watipaso Mzungu as a futile attempt by President Dr. Chakwera’s leadership to instill fear in journalists in the country, a development that can easily be construed as a tactic to stifle media freedom and freedom of expression in Malawi.

…”Let President Dr. Chakwera and the Inspector General of Police, Dr. George Kainja, know that Malawians will never be intimidated with such acts by the police in a democratic state where anyone is supposed to enjoy freedom of expression…,’’ reads part of the statement.

CDEDI is challenging the Tonse Alliance Government that Malawi will never slide back to dictatorship and that the organization and its leadership will never retreat or surrender, assuring Malawians that it shall always endevour to safeguard the country’s hard earned democracy which MCP vehemently opposed in 1992.

Meanwhile, MISA Malawi says it is concerned with the continued arbitrary summoning, arrests and detention of journalists by the Malawi Police Service [MPS], condemning the actions by the police in the strongest terms and believe the summoning, arrests and detentions, are an attack on media freedom.

In a statement dated 6th April, 2021 signed by its Chairperson, Teresa Temweka Ndanga, MISA Malawi says the Malawi Police Service [MPS] must understand that media freedom is enshrined in the Republican Constitution and their duty is to protect and not violate it.

…”Continued summoning, arbitrary arrests and detentions of journalists for simply doing their job will unfortunately reflect badly on the country’s performance in the yearly press freedom indexes…,’’ reads the statement in part.

MISA Malawi is therefore appealing to President Dr. Chakwera’s Administration through the Ministry of Homeland Security and Information, to work with the Malawi Police Service [MPS] in addressing their concerns.

By Vincent Gunde

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