Politically motivated violence stifling freedoms of assembly and association

Association

On 10th January 2019, United Transformation Movement (UTM) party Member of Parliament, Bon Kalindo, was arrested for insulting the President and for disorderly conduct. Days later after his release on bail, on 16th January, Kalindo was assaulted by youths from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at the District Commissioner’s premises in the southern town of Mulanje.

A few days later, on 20th January, Malawi Congress Party member Edward Govati was also attacked by the same DDP youths. On this same day, a man and a woman belonging to UTM were attacked by the same youths and forced to take off their UTM T-shirts, leaving the woman in her underwear and the man half naked in Mangochi district.

Responding to the rising cases of political violence, on 28th January 2019, representatives of six political parties, including the ruling party (DPP) and the main opposition Malawi congress Party called on the police to address the political violence and bring those involved to justice. In a joint communique issued by the representatives, after they participated in a joint meeting to discuss about the spate of political violence, they said:

“We demand [that] the police work tirelessly to bring these perpetrators of violence to justice …and … those who fuel these incidents should also be brought to justice”.

In a statement issued by the United States ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer expressed concern over incidents of political violence. She however also commended the country’s political leaders for condemning the recent acts of violence including the targeting of women.