Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says Sylvester Namiwa’s family has been blocked from visiting the activist and Police have not disclosed his whereabouts.
CDEDI issued a statement this morning following the arrest of Namiwa, CDEDI communications director Edwin Mauluka and nine others yesterday for conducting vigils at Parliament Building.
According to the organization, the other arrested officials are being held at Lumbadzi Police Station in Lilongwe but the whereabouts of Mr. Namiwa is not known.
“We have been to Lumbadzi, Lingadzi, Area 30, and Lilongwe Police Stations, but to no avail. Surprisingly, the police have kept a very tight lid on Mr. Namiwa’s whereabouts, a development that has caused panic and uncertainty, as regards Mr. Namiwa’s safety.
“CDEDI is, therefore, demanding the Malawi Police Service (MPS), to respect Mr. Namiwa’s rights, by disclosing his whereabouts, so that his family members, and all Malawians of good will can offer him moral support, especially at this time when he is going through very difficult time, and needs comfort,” reads part of the statement.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera has issued several updates on Mr Namiwa’s arrest but has not disclosed the police station in which Namiwa is being kept.
He has, however, said the 11 people will likely spend another night in custody before they are charged and taken to court.
According to Kadadzera, Namiwa and the CDEDI members were arrested because they held a vigil after their notification to the Lilongwe City Council was rejected by the council.
“[They] failed to comply with the prohibition order from the City Council, which is contrary to section 99 of the Police Act,” said Kadadzera.
Namiwa had argued before the vigil that the notification is not aimed at seeking approval but only notifying the council.
The vigil at the National Assembly in the Capital Lilongwe was aimed to force Speaker Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara to address CDEDI on issues surrounding the loan authorization bill that was taken to the National Assembly without knowledge of cabinet ministers.
The bill which was not tabled sought Parliament’s approval to secure MK93 billion as a loan from the Bank of Baroda, for the construction of houses for security institutions.