Malawi Police hunting for activist Mtambo over demos

The Malawi Police have said they are hunting for rights activist Timothy Mtambo for planning to hold demonstrations at State House.

In a statement today, the Police said they have obtained an arrest warrant against Mtambo, who is leader of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition  (HRDC), and two other HRDC leaders are vice chairperson Gift Trapence and member Macdonald Sembereka.

Trapence and Sembereka were arrested on Sunday night in Lilongwe and were taken to Blantyre Police.

“Mr. Timothy Mtambo is on the run and Police are looking for him.

“The three suspects will be brought before the court of law to be dealt with in accordance with the law,” National Police Publicist James Kadadzera said in the statement.

According to Kadadzera, during their press briefing in Lilongwe on 6th March, 2020, the three suspects called upon people to seal all the State Residences.

He added that the activists are fully aware that Section 103 of the Police Act prohibits any demonstrations or assemblies within a hundred metres from State Residences unless the same has been permitted by the State President.

“This provision has been brought to their attention previously when they attempted to demonstrate to the State Residence,” said Kadadzera.

He further said that Section 124 of the Penal Code prohibits any person to incite or solicit another to break any law.

“By inciting people to seal the State Residences on 25th March 2020, the three committed an offence under Section 124 of the Penal Code,” he said.

Last week, the HRDC announced plans to shut down State House on March 25 in order to force President Peter Mutharika to sign the electoral reforms bills which were passed in Parliament last month.

The arrest of the HRDC members on yesterday came hours after Mutharika told his supporters in Blantyre that he is tired of the grouping’s “stupidity”.

He was referring to the demonstrations which the HRDC has been organizing since the 2019 elections.

Mutharika, during the rally which was held at Njamba Park, also ordered Malawi Police and Malawi Defence Force to use necessary force against the protesters if they march to State House.