Human rights activist, Timothy Mtambo, who was leader of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), has said time has come to do away with selfish and corrupt leaders in the country through his new movement – Citizens for Transformation.
Mtambo made the announcement Wednesday in Lilongwe at a press briefing.
He said he had taken the political route to challenge President Peter Mutharika’s bid for presidency in the July 2, 2020 scheduled presidential elections.
“Our new movement represents a just future and rejection of the oppressive evil that has become the trademark of the ruling DPP [Democratic Progressive Party]. We will use all our strength and courage to ensure that this nation is liberated from the bondage of crippling nepotism, tribalism, cronyism and all the vices by the current regime,” he said.
He added that the movement is founded on values of human rights-based approach, peaceful-coexistence, rule of law and active citizen participation in demanding inclusive social, political and economic transformation.
While stressing that the movement is not political, Mtambo has since endorsed the alliance of UTM and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the forthcoming presidential election.
“We will embark on a massive civic education campaign to mobilise the masses across the country and implore every Malawian to vote for the UTM and MCP alliance,” he said.
HRDC vice chairperson, Gift Trapence, confirmed receiving Mtambo’s letter of resignation but refused to divulge more on the matter.
“We have received the communication. But as HRDC, we will officially communicate to the public. We have to assure Malawians that HRDC will respond accordingly,” he said.
Political lecturer at the University of Livingstonia, George Phiri, supported the movement considering the poor political governance in the country.
“Looking at the issue of transparency and accountability, the movement can deal with the situation at hand because the country is indeed in need of good governance. However, we have seen in the past that issues of governance and rule of law have been trumped upon by governing authorities and people have little power to hold leaders to account,” he said.
Phiri suggested that Mtambo should concentrate on empowerment and governance in rural areas as most Malawians do not have knowledge in how they can hold leaders to account.
MCP publicity secretary, Maurice Munthali, said endorsing the UTM-MCP alliance is Mtambo’s constitutional right and the party respects his freedom.
“To us, as a grand alliance, this is not just a morale booster; what is more, it is a clear indication that our collective mission resonates well with the aspirations of the majority of Malawians. It energises our leaders’ resolve to pursue the agenda for a transformed Malawi which will be fair to all citizens. With such endorsements, victory is guaranteed in the forthcoming fresh [presidential] election,” he said.
Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, accused Mtambo of being a bitter man in guise of a human rights activist.
“They [HRDC] never had any serious governance concerns against the government. We said he was a politician masquerading as a human rights activist. He was a bitter politician serving MCP and UTM. Here we are today, he has gotten tired of hiding [his political allegiance] and he has finally come out in the open. He has openly sworn his allegiance to the two political parties while launching his own political group.
“It’s unfortunate that one individual took unsuspecting Malawians for granted for his own political gains. Using them to build a political career. It is so sad,” he said.
Through HRDC, Mtambo has been one of the vocal rights activist and recently with Trapence, Macdonald Sembereka were arrested for imploring people to shut down presidential residences.
Mtambo has been in the frontline organising protests against corruption, nepotism, poor governance among others.
He became famous after the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections when he led a series of protests aimed at forcing Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign for mishandling the polls.