By Tiyese Monjeza & Mandy Pondani
Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo says government has communicated to the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to withdraw the warrant of arrest that was issued against political activist Bon Kalindo.
Confirming the development in an interview, Chimwendo Banda said through his ministry, they are reminding the police that it is the policy of President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration not to stifle freedoms that border on expression and peaceful demonstration.
He said people in the country are free to exercise their right to comment on matters of national importance without fear of reprisals from the police.
“We have communicated government policy to the Inspector General of Police; it is the position of this government to desist from violating people’s rights and freedom to express themselves even when they have misgivings on what government is doing,” Chimwendo Banda said.
He, however, insisted that government is not setting a bad precedent by withdrawing the warrant of arrest and urged Malawians to exercise their rights responsibly.
MPS earlier confirmed having been looking for Kalino over his remarks which were allegedly meant to insult Chakwera during the ‘cost of living’ demonstrations the former UTM director of youth organised in Blantyre on Friday.
The statement signed by MPS Public Relations Officer James Kadadzera said the offence was contrary to Section 4 of the Protected Flags, Emblems and Names under the laws of Malawi.
“On January 21, 2022 at Blantyre District Commissioner’s office in the City of Blantyre, while addressing demonstrations, Mr Kalindo used insulting words to the President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera,” reads the statement.
Kalindo is on bail granted by the Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate after he was arrested on charges of publishing false materials following remarks he made in Mangochi during demonstrations, where he alleged former deputy speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya was murdered at Parliament building.
He is also answering a similar charge at the Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate following remarks he made during a programme on a local television station where he alleged he knows those behind the killing of persons with albinism in the country.