Malawi is going back to dictatorship rights campaigners

binguwaMalawi is going back to dictatorship rights campaigners, human rights activist and social-political analysts have pointed out. Under President Bingu wa Mutharika (pictured), the oppression and intimidation of people with dissenting views is becoming commonplace.

This was disclosed during a live programme on Capital Radio Sunday Roundtable Discussion on November 15, 2009. Rafiq Hajat, head of think-thank Institute for Police Interaction (IPI) disclosed during the program that the host, Brian Banda, had told the panelist in confidence that he received threatening calls that the program should not tackle the issue of government buying a presidential jet at K2 billion which many have criticised.

You [Brian Banda] told us in confidence that we should stay away from the issue talking about the presidential jet because you have been warned that the issue should not be discussed. But just now we have a caller talking about presidential jet, disclosed Hajat.

You can try and muzzle the people but you will not do it for very long the time for judgment will come sooner rather than later, he said.

Banda, one of Malawis probing political journalists confirmed during the program that he received threatening calls.

Before I came on air I received some calls saying dont say some specific issues, said Banda.

Hajat also disclosed that Andrew Kumbatira the Executive Director of the Malawi. Economic Justice Network (MEJN) has been intimidated and threatened after raising the issue of financial abuse at Escom.

He [Kumbatira] has had threats, said Hajat.

He said critics are being threatened and are living dangerously in the country.

You dont know what happens to us and our phones start ringing kodi iwe Hajat samalanitu watch out. We sacrifice our lives, he said pointing out that critics have been described as development demons and trouble makers.

We have noticed of late that there is more harsh and severe altitude coming in the corridors of government to anything that is perceived as criticism, pointed out Hajat.

In the past, even though we had problems with the [Bakili] Muluzi regime, we opposed third term with bitterness but he [Muluzi] always kept his cool, noted the social-political analyst.

In his contributions, Malawi Watch director Banda said Malawi was turning back to dictatorship.

Malawi is going back to one party dictatorship considering that the majority are being abused, said Banda.

He also urged caution against Parliament electing a Leader of Opposition who will be controlled by government.

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