By Jameson Chauluka:
Civil society organisations under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have faulted President Peter Mutharika for allegedly interfering in the work of a commission of inquiry he has instituted to investigate the killing and abduction of people with albinism (pwa).
In a statement released Tuesday, the CSOs said it was “unpresidential” and insensitive for Mutharika to issue orders to the commission on who to listen to and areas to focus on.
“The expectation of the public was that President Mutharika would stick to giving the commission terms of reference and reporting procedures and deadlines. Telling the commission what to do and what to look for is outrageous. As HRDC, we strongly hold that the commission should be left to do its work— without any executive or whatever interference—independently and professionally,” reads the statement in part.
The CSOs also fault Mutharika for attacking former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera, State Vice President Saulos Chilima, Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi President Overtone Kondowe, Timothy Mtambo and Charles Kajoloweka for their stance against the killing and abduction of pwa.
“We, at HRDC, are of the strong view that these individuals and their respective associations and coalitions are now the object of Mutharika’s wrath simply for waking up President Mutharika from slumber to act decisively on the continued barbaric attacks on persons with albinism,” it reads.
Kondowe, writing on his Facebook page, also faulted Mutharika’s commission of inquiry, saying it does not comprise of people who can ably do the job.
“The membership of the commission is far from the expectations of Malawians with albinism. Where are the experts in the team… pathologist, criminal investigator, legal specialist, human rights expert, an academic, member of traditional healers? Worse more, two members of the commission are from the same organisation. Whom do we want to protect, I wonder?” Kondowe said.
State House Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalirani described the CSOs’ position as talk from people who choose to look at things from a negative angle all the time.
“The President has instituted a commission of inquiry, these people were among the stakeholders that were asking for one, can’t they for a moment applaud the President for doing the right thing? What is wrong with the President giving counsel to commissioners to work deligently?
“What is wrong with the President advising commissioners during a swearing in ceremony for them be careful of paid up informers?” He queried.