Group demands release of activist Namiwa

The Centre for Mindset Change (CMC) has demanded the immediate release of rights activist Sylvester Namiwa and 10 others who were arrested for holding vigils without approval from Lilongwe City council.

This is according to a CMC press statement released yesterday and signed by its Director Philip Kamangirah who said Namiwa has not committed any crime that would see him being arrested.

Kamangirah said CMC finds such arrests as undemocratic and a demonstration of serious negligence in respect to the values of democratic governance by the authorities.

He further said the right to demonstrate is not subject to approval by any district commissioner or any public authority for it is provided for in the constitution of the country hence their call for the police to unconditionally release the activist.

“We therefore call upon government and its authority to release Mr. Silvester Namiwa and others immediately.

“We wish to hassle that the right to demonstrate is not subject to approval by the District Commissioner or any Public Authority. The law (Section 96 of the Police Act) necessitates the demonstrators to only notify the authorities and not seeking permission,” said Kamangirah in the statement.

He added that such arrests are tantamount to the death of the country’s hard-earned democracy which provide for freedoms to assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression.

The group has since called on the government and its agencies to “stop harassing, intimidating, victimizing and oppressing the people of Malawi for reasons of enjoying their constitutional rights as provided for.”

Namiwa and other CDEDI members were arrested on Wednesday in Lilongwe at Parliament Building for leading a demonstration over the Loan Authorization Bill which was trafficked to Parliament without following the required procedures.

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