Amnesty International has described the petrol-bomb attack on Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo’s property as a clear act of intimidation, designed to deter him from carrying out his human rights work.
The rights body said this yesterday after thugs threw three petrol bombs into Mtambo’s compound. One bomb hit and torched Mtambo’s car, a second was thrown at the gate and the last narrowly missed house.
“There must be no stone left unturned in pursuit of those who are behind this attack. The authorities must launch a prompt, impartial and effective investigation and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials,” Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa said on Thursday.
The Amnesty deputy director noted that the incident comes weeks after Timothy received threats for organizing demonstrations over allegations of mismanagement of the May 21 elections.
“The Malawian authorities must stop singling out critical voices for attack, and instead commit to respecting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Mwananyanda said.
Meanwhile, Mtambo’s HRDC has accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of masterminding the attack.
Apart from being chairperson of the HRDC, Mtambo is also the executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) as well as the vice chairperson of Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network.
The activist has been instrumental in leading post-election protests following the 21 May election, calling for the Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign from her position over allegations of mismanaging the election.
Earlier this week, the HRDC said the next protests will take place at the country’s border and airports.