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CSOs fault government on Everton Chimulirenji’s security detail

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Faith Kamtambe:

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has described as illegal, abuse of office and contravention of the law the government’s decision to beef up the security team for Everton Chimulirenji, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) torchbearer Peter Mutharika’s running mate.

Reports indicate that six security personnel have been deployed to beef up Chimulirenji’s security.

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Addressing the press in Lilongwe Sunday, HRDC Regional Chairperson for the Centre, Billy Mayaya, said it was sad that the government is concerned with Chimulirenji’s security detail as opposed to the security concerns of people with albinism in the country.

“We are angry at revelations reaching us that the government has beefed up the security detail for Everton Chimulirenji on the pretext that he is the running mate. This is a clear case of abuse of power and resources, hence our call for immediate reversal of this arrangement”.

“It is a mockery to Malawians that the government can prioritise security of a running mate at the expense of our brothers and sisters with albinism. This childish decision should be rescinded immediately,” he said.

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But Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Henry Mussa, said it was normal to beef up the security detail of a State President’s running mate.

“It is not about the individual; it is about the position. When you look at the time Joyce Banda had Sosten Gwengwe as running-mate, they beefed up his security detail and when Banda was running mate to Mutharika, she, too, had to be protected. The moment the status changes, it is normal,” he said.

Mussa also said running mates for presidential candidates in the opposition are sorted out by their respective parties.

HRDC has also announced that civil society organisations will hold demonstrations on March 27 2019 to protest social ills happening in the country.

HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said, among other issues, the demonstrations have been organised to condemn rampant corruption in the country, killings and abductions of people with albinism and the use of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation by DPP gurus to advance their interests.

Commenting on the development, Mussa said it was their right and the government would respond during that time.

HRDC officials also said they have endorsed vigils that have been slated for March 3 2019 by Association of People with Albinism in Malawi on matters surrounding the murders of people with albinism in the country.

On another note, there has been debate over abuse of State resources, with UTM and DPP supporters seen in police motor vehicles.

Commenting on a picture circulating on social media showing UTM supporters boarding a police vehicle, UTM secretary general, Patricia Kaliati, said considering the current blood between UTM and the police, there was no way the police can allow UTM members to board a public vehicle.

But Kaliati said using police vehicles in such a manner is abuse of State resources.

Mussa could not be drawn to comment on a picture making rounds on social media showing DPP supporters boarding a police vehicle.

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