Malawi Police have obtained a warrant of arrest for activist Bon Kalindo on allegations that he insulted President Lazarus Chakwera during anti-government demonstrations yesterday.
National Police Spokesperson James Kadadzera has confirmed in a statement that the Malawi Police are looking for Kalindo.
“At Blantyre District Commissioner’s office in the city of Blantyre while addressing demonstrators, Mr Kalindo used insulting words to the President of the Republic, His Excellency Dr Lazarus Chakwera,” says Kadadzera in the statement released this afternoon.
The statement adds that Kalindo is wanted by police in Blantyre or may choose to surrender himself.
Yesterday, Kalindo led thousands of Malawians in marching across Blantyre over Chakwera’s failure to deliver on campaign promises and find solutions to the rising cost of living in Malawi. Protesters also expressed concern over corruption and nepotism under president Chakwera.
The Protesters gave Chakwera ten days to address the issues, saying there will be more demonstrations if Chakwera does not act.
Kalindo has been leading anti-government demonstrations since November last year. In December, he was also arrested for remarks made during demonstrations in Mzuzu and Mangochi. After he was given bail, he was also arrested for malicious damage during demonstrations. Earlier this month, the Police thwarted demonstrations which he organized in Blantyre.
Insulting the president is a crime in Malawi under Section 4 of the Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Act.
In 2019, Kalindo was arrested after being accused of insulting the then president Peter Mutharika.
At the time, Chakwera was Leader of Opposition and he spoke against the arrest, saying people should not be arrested for expressing how they feel about the government.
“In fact, whatever unjust law is cited to empower such a ludicrous idea is equally primitive, unacceptable, and stupid, and will thus be repealed by my government,” Chakwera in a Facebook post.