The Human Rights Consultative Committee says, as a human rights defender, it will not be intimidated by recent “verbal attacks and threats” by president Bingu wa Mutharika and other ruling party authorities but ensure that Malawians get the best out of people they put in office.
The HRCC says this, it shall do, on the understanding that “those who rule do so by the trust of the people”. HRCC pledges to continue pressing for more accountability and adherence to good governance principles by ensuring that no grain of intimidation stops it from exercising this.
“It is our view that Malawians deserve better and that no lukewarm service delivery or face saving mechanisms should blind them. In this vein we wish to reiterate our commitment to bring to light any shortcomings and where possible suggest the best way out without fear or favour,” reads a January 6th statement signed for by HRCC Vice Chairperson Mrs. Magret Ali.
Mrs. Ali says the HRCC is dismayed at the utterances of president Mutharika and his senior party and government officials which it feels are intimidating and not befitting in a democracy.
The HRCC has since requested the government and president Mutharika to desist from castigating civil society leadership but invest energy into a search for solutions to current debilitating challenges Malawi is facing.
The Committee further reiterates its position to hold president Mutharika accountable should any civil society leaders or members be harmed in anyway.
“We would like to be furnished with an update on progress regarding previous incidents that were reported to both government and the Police for investigations whose results are neigh. These include but not limited to; the attacks at Mr. Undule Mwakasungula’s offices, the burning of IPI offices and the house of Rev. MacDonald Sembereka, the assault on Mr. Bisika in Zomba, the threats on Mr. Benedicto Kondowe and the mysterious death of Chasowa,” she said.
The statement by the HRCC is an apparent response to accusations president Mutharika raised against civil society players including CHRR chairperson Mr. Undule Mwakasungula who the president said shunned a tree planting exercise in Zomba when it was a human rights issue.
The HRCC also demands a stop to the blame game that government has chosen to adopt in the question of who is responsible for the current socio-economic woes in the country.
“It is scandalous for the whole Head of State to call the citizenry chickens,” reads the statement which calls for a consultative process to commence with all stakeholders including political parties, donors and civil society to brainstorm on the ideals we have to stand for in the crisis.
The HRCC is a civil society network of 97 local organizations promoting governance, accountability, rule of law and a culture of respect for people and human rights.
The HRCC was established in 1995 and brings together Civil Society organizations to strategize on effective ways to deal with the pressing human rights violations, democratic governance and development issues affecting Malawians in general.—Zodiak Online