Malawi rejects calls to drop charges against activists

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The Peter Mutharika administration has rejected calls to drop charges against two rights activists saying no one should obstruct justice on the issue.

In a statement today, Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani said justice should be allowed to take its course.

The activists – Gift Trapence and MacDonald Sembereka – were arrested and charged with fraud on Tuesday, days after they led demonstrations to show dissatisfaction with management of the May 21 elections in which Mutharika was declared winner.

UNAIDS confirmed reporting the two to police saying they pocketed K7 million for a workshop that was not conducted.

On Wednesday, the United Nations demanded the immediate release of the two saying it did not want to commence legal action against the activists.

In his statement today, Botomani who is also government spokesperson said individuals and institutions should not obstruct the course of justice on the matter.

The minister also rejected claims that the Mutharika administration is persecuting activists.

He said the claims are being advanced to fuel a false narrative which portrays Government as persecuting human rights defenders in the country.

“The confirmation by the UN agency of embezzlement of funds by the two suspects effectively exonerates Government from these claims.

“The same UN agency statement also reveals that the pair has made a commitment to repay the money – which can be construed as an admission of their wrong doing,” Botomani said.

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One Comment

  1. This is article is not quite honest in its presentation. The accusation was 4 years ago, and the government failed to act until now. The UN dropped the charges and said they had already come to an arrangement. The UN also explicitly stated that the government should not use this case an excuse for the government to arrest protestors and had asked that the government release them immediately.