HRDC members given diplomatic jobs


Members of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) who led post-election protests have been given jobs in foreign missions by the Lazarus Chakwera administration.

Three members of the grouping, Luke Tembo, Billy Mayaya and MacDonald Sembereka, are among 40 newly appointed diplomats who have been appointed to represent Malawi in foreign missions.

This week, they have been attending an orientation meeting under the theme “Development Diplomacy: A Catalyst for Sustainable Development” where Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka challenged the diplomats to propel positive relations with other nations.

Sembereka who is going to represent Malawi at the United Nations in New York has told the local media that the diplomatic jobs are not connected to the role they played in organizing demonstrations which helped propel Chakwera to power.

HRDC members Sembereka (L) and Tembo (2nd from L) with Chakwera (C) last year

He added that he is still an activist only that now he is part of systems meant to further other human rights.

The rights group which was previously led by Timothy Mtambo became prominent through its fights against rights abuses during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.

After DPP’s Peter Mutharika retained the presidency in the 2019 elections, HRDC led massive protests over a period of ten months, claiming that the elections had been rigged and demanding the resignation of the Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah.

The courts last year nullified the 2019 elections and in the fresh elections Lazarus Chakwera was elected as president.

In his first cabinet, Chakwera appointed former HRDC leader Mtambo as Minister of Civic Education and National Unity.