MHRC investigating activist Namiwa’s arrest


The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is investigating the Malawi Police Service’s conduct over unfair treatment of activist Sylvester Namiwa amid reports that the activist was roughed up and shackled by the police.

Namiwa who is the Executive Director for Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (CDEDI) was arrested on Wednesday 11th August 2021 for allegedly holding vigils without permission from Lilongwe council.

Reacting to the matter, MHRC has today released a press statement signed by its chairperson Scader Louis, saying the commission wants to know the truth surrounding Namiwa’s arrest.

According to the Commission, its preliminary investigations on the matter has revealed that the human rights activist was arrested for merely exercising his right to demonstrate a development which it said should not be condoned.

Louis in the statement said the law enforcers were only supposed to stop the demonstrations and not arrest the human rights activist or anyone who was exercising their right as provided for in the constitution of the country.

The Commission further said it is shocked with the way police manhandled Namiwa during his arrest and added that it is sad that the activist was put in leg irons as if he was a dangerous criminal when he was placed in a solitary cell at Lilongwe Police Station.

“The Commission is concerned with the manner in which Mr. Namiwa was roughed up by the police during his arrest This was undignified. As if that was not enough, he was handcuffed and whisked away to Linthipe Police Unit in Dedza, yet the events leading to his arrest happened in Lilongwe.

“The Commission strongly condemns police action which is not in line with the Constitution of Malawi as well as international human rights standards. The Commission will therefore conduct full investigations into the matter and will release findings of the investigations in due course,” reads part of the statement.

MHRC has further demanded an explanation from the Inspector General of Police on why Namiwa was not granted police bail on the same day of his arrest when his arrest was unjustified, and why he was put in leg irons when in police custody.

The Commission has also called upon the Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to conduct independent investigations into this matter so as to come up with the truth of the matter.

Namiwa’s vigils were triggered by an allegation of the smuggling of a bill to Parliament by a Presidential aide and a public officer in the Ministry of Finance.

The activist demanded Parliament leadership to provide explanation on why the bill found