Malawi activist arrested near SADC summit venue

Malawi Police have today arrested a rights activist who led protests near the venue of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Lilongwe.

Mr. Sylvester Namiwa, executive director of CDEDI, has been arrested at Parliament Building which is a stone throw away from the Bingu International Convention Centre  (BICC) where the SADC summit is underway.

The bus which carried Namiwa

Namiwa this morning organized a vigil to force parliament leadership to explain how a K93 billion loan bill found its way into Parliament without the knowledge of Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance.

Journalists interviewing Namiwa shortly before the arrest

Namiwa told Journalists on Monday that protesters will hold vigils until the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara and Fiona Kalemba respectively, respond to their demands.

This morning, the protesters stormed Parliament Building and there were also several armed and plain clothed police officers.

Speaking to Reporters at the Parliament Building, Namiwa said the building is for Malawians and they have a right to be there.

“Malawi is a democratic society where we don’t have to negotiate to exercise our rights,” said Namiwa.

After the interview, he was grabbed by the plain-clothed police officers who led him to a bus before the vehicle drove away.

Malawi24 understands that CDEDI notified the Lilongwe City Council about the protests but the council argued that the demonstrations should not be held because of the SADC Summit in the city and Covid-19 restrictions.

The summit started on Monday and currently there is a meeting of Standing Committee of Senior Officials and Finance Committee. Heads of State and Government will meet from 17 to 18 August at BICC.

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