Opposition party members, activists and CSOs intimidated ahead of the general elections

Association

In May 2019, Malawi will hold general elections. As political parties start campaigning, it was reported on 12th September 2018, that opposition politicians are being prevented from holding political rallies in the area of Zomba by the Senior Chief. According to a Member of Parliament, the chief has been campaigning for candidates from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and has warned the area’s traditional leaders not to allow other politicians to hold political rallies and meetings in the area, or otherwise risk dethronement.

In separate developments, on 6th September 2018, the U.N. human rights office warned that human rights defenders and activists in Malawi are under increasing threat as pre-election politics gear up for the next general elections in May 2019. The statement notes that thugs attacked the offices of the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation in Lilongwe, while in another incident an activist received death threats after issuing a press statement against corruption. In its report, the UN office also expressed concern over an emerging pattern of threats and violence against women members of parliament and electoral candidates, citing an incident where a female MP’s car was torched in Mangochi in the south of the country in August 2018.