Let Winiko out, CSOs say


...call for review of laws

A grouping of civil Society organizations under the emblem Human Rights Defenders Coalition  (HRDC) have called for release of Bon Kalindo and the repeal of laws that protect the president describing them as being designed to protect one party dictatorships.

The call has come after the arrest of lawmaker Kalindo, popularly known by his stage name Winiko.

Kalindo was arrested after he was heard during at a police station mocking and verbally attacking President Peter Mutharika.

It is an offence to attack the President in Malawi.

In a statement, the coalition asks the government to suspend the implementation of Section 4 of the Protected Flags, Emblem and Names Act and Section 181 of the Penal Code.

The coalition argues that these provisions have only been employed to muzzle and silence critics citing arrests of Abiti Manice and others arrested over similar situations.

“The coalition would like to remind all duty bearers in particular Government and ruling DPP that the Republican Constitution gives each and every person and legitimate organization rights to freely associate and speak on matters of national concern. We would like to point out that when citizens raise issues, they are aimed at helping duty bearers to do right things. Simply arresting citizens to silence state critics will not only reflect badly on the governing elite, but will go down towards creating a society bent on revenge, violence and which does not respect the rule of law,” reads the depict of the statement.

The coalition has since asked for the release of Kalindo asking government to ‘concentrate on arresting culprits directly involved in cashgate’.

They have also called for need for the government to be involved in issues that are of national interest dubbing Kalindo’s arrest as meant to divert Malawians real attention.

Kalindo is one of the top officials in the UTM, a party that only developed as a faction from the DPP mid last year.

He was one of the people who were calling for the party when he was in the DPP to consider offloading Mutharika at the convention for Vice President Saulos Chilima.

Chilima announced weeks later he had founded his own party, the UTM.

DPP and UTM have since become fierce rivals.