Government says the attack on a journalist by UTM members on Wednesday is a lesson for the party’s leader Saulos Chilima to avoid issuing threats of retaliation.
Journalist George Banda was assaulted at COMESA Hall in Blantyre on Wednesday, 6th February 2019, by members of the UTM when the party’s presidential candidate, Chilima, was presenting his nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Banda was assaulted for being suspected to be a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
In a statement Thursday, Minister of Information and Communications Technology condemned the attack saying Chilima should learn from the incident.
“Government hopes that the Wednesday incident is a lesson to the leader of UTM and all those of like mind to avoid speaking carelessly and issuing threats of retaliation. We look forward to a future of careful and restrained speeches,” Mussa said.
He added that Chilima was wrong – when he held a press conference last week – to suggest that the duty of ending violence in Malawi rests with President Peter Mutharika only.
Mussa then reminded fellow politicians that savagery against the media and journalists has never succeeded and will never succeed saying those who indulge in malpractices of this kind should be ashamed and not spared.
In the statement, Mussa also stated government’s government commitment to safeguarding, in general, all freedoms and, in particular, freedom of expression which essentially accommodates freedoms of the press, of association and of assembly.
“Malawi is a democratic state, governed by the rule of law, where people should be allowed to enjoy their rights and go about their lives and businesses freely. In this regard, we will not tolerate those who, by themselves or through their agents, indulge in activities that infringe on the rights of others,” Mussa said.
He added that government agencies are investigating all cases of violence, including the one on Wednesday, and will proceed guided by the findings without hindrance.