Lilongwe, 31 July, 2020
POLITICAL PERSECUTION OF SUSPECTS; ABUSE OF POWER BY THE STATE
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) would like to commend the State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera for his stance in tackling deep rooted corruption which was encouraged by the previous regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This is being evidenced through the numerous arrests of individuals who had connections with the past regime, on suspicion that they abused and plundered the country’s resources.
Malawians may wish to recall that CDEDI was among the very first institutions that proposed to government to consider setting up a special tribunal to ensure speedy cleaning up of the rot that characterized the DPP regime during their six year reign.
Having come this far, CDEDI is impressed with the progress government is making by ensuring that all those people suspected to have contravened the law are being brought to book and are facing the long arm of the law without fear or favour.
While CDEDI is reiterating its assurance to the president of our support in fighting corruption in the country, we have however, noted that the way the state is handling suspects, in particular the private bodyguard for the former President Peter Mutharika, Mr. Norman Paulosi Chisale, gives an impression of political persecution.
CDEDI is fully aware that the law enforcement agents are rightly doing their job by arresting all the suspects. But we are of the view that it is an abuse of power and a violation of human rights to keep on arresting the same suspect continuously. It is against this background that we are appealing to the law enforcement agents and all the relevant authorities to consider consolidating all the offences Mr. Chisale is suspected to have committed, and charge him accordingly in order to preserve and respect the suspect’s dignity.
It is also worth pointing out that suspects are human beings with some rights to be protected and respected, including respecting their dignity, until such a time when a competent court of law mates out its verdict.
Suspects have in the past been arrested and charged with multiple cases at once, and using the same precedent on Mr. Chisale would be very appropriate, unlike the way he is being handled, a development which can safely be concluded as political torture and abuse of power by the state which is probably trying to settle some political scores with the previous regime.
Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI would like to remind government that human rights are universal, therefore the state should ensure that all the suspects have their rights and dignity respected as they are being investigated.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.
CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR