Malawi Spirals into Authoritarianism: Opposition Condemns Arrest of Activist

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Chakwera

The Opposition bloc in Parliament has raised alarms over the increasing arrest of activists and journalists in Malawi, declaring it a clear indication that the country is reverting to a police state and authoritarian regime under the leadership of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and President Lazarus Chakwera. Recent moves by members of the ruling party to propose Chakwera as a life president, akin to the dictator Kamuzu Banda, have exacerbated these concerns.

The remarks from the opposition follow the arrest of activist Edward Kambanje. Kambanje has been detained for asking the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda and his daughter over allegations that the family had acquired more than 20 luxury cars.

“This arrest is a stark reminder of the government’s growing intolerance for dissent and its desperate attempts to hide the truth,” said George Chaponda, speaking on behalf of the opposition bloc. Chaponda demanded Kambanje’s “immediate release from police custody.”

Kambanje also exposed gaps in the national identity card registration exercises at the centres he inspected, further contributing to his contentious standing with the authorities.

“His arrest is a clear attempt to silence him. This is an attack on free speech, whistleblower protection, and an example of harassment and intimidation of activists and whistleblowers,” Chaponda added.

Expressing his dismay, Chaponda stated he is “appalled by the arrest,” underscoring the opposition’s stance against the government’s actions.

The Opposition has called on the Chakwera administration and the Malawi Congress Party to “end the harassment and intimidation of activists and whistleblowers.” They have also sided with Kambanje in demanding a “full investigation” into the alleged lifestyle of the minister’s daughter.

Under Chakwera’s presidency, Malawi has seen a notable increase in the arrest of activists and journalists. The pinnacle of these actions was the detention of ACB Director Martha Chizuma, signalling a worrying trend towards the suppression of dissent in the country.

Adding to the growing concern, this week MCP parliamentarian for Lilongwe Mapuyu South, Monica Kathumba, revealed that the party is considering introducing a law which would make Chakwera a life president.

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