Things are no longer rosy for a group that christened itself concerned citizens and started fighting for the extradition of the remanded Rwandan Genocide suspect, Vincent Murekezi, as some leaders have come out to accuse their chairperson, Phillip Kamangira, of pocketing money to withdraw interest and petition.
The concerned citizens presented their petition to Speaker of the National Assembly through Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Security to force government to arrest and extradite Murekezi, who is suspected to have taken a part in the killing of an estimated over 800,000 people in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
But last week, Kamangira who initially worked with two other people, namely Mundango Nyirenda and Willard Mhone, led a different group comprising, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, Fryson Chozi and Bright Kampaundi to announce the withdrawal of the concerned citizens’ interest in matters of Murekezi.
Nyirenda and Mhone told a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday that Kamangira went behind their back and teamed up with his unsuspecting colleagues and announced the withdrawal of the petition without consulting the ‘genuine concerned citizens’ of his intention of withdrawing from the matter.
According to Nyirenda and Mhone, who claim to be pursuing the matter based on their own investigations and patriotism, they entrusted Kamangira to be there chairperson only after advising him not to be swayed by monetary incentives.
“It is believed that Mr Kamangira—approached one of the well-known businessperson(s) who is close associate of the fugitive [Murekezi], to hoodwink patriotic Malawians that the petition has been withdrawn.
“The truth of the matter is that the status quo remains that Murekezi, who is in lawful custody, should be extradited to his native Rwanda to answer charges of the heinous crimes that he committed in 1994,” Nyirenda said.
While Kamangira said the information which they got at first was wrong, Nyirenda and Mhone
said they took the action based on information and evidence that the Rwandan Government through the National Prosecution Authority Director Faustin Nkuzi provided.
Surprisingly, Kamangira said Nyirenda and Mhone are not members of what he called Concerned Citizens Platform but approached him and briefed him about Murekezi issue.
Kamangira, who claims to be founder of the platform, said they have done a lot of work under the banner of concerned citizens in the past and wondered where Nyirenda and Mhone were.
“I took the matter in good faith but after submitting that petition we did our own investigations and found some facts are really immaterial. As a result of this, as a platform we said no, let us withdraw from the issue. Our withdrawal is not restricting particular individuals from continuing with the issue,” Kamangira said.
Kamangira said anybody who presumes that he is involved in blackmail on the matter should move forward with evidence and report to relevant authorities.
“I don’t think I can be corrupt for a packet of sugar. I work on principle. I don’t work on anything against my conscience. If I think there is no justice, I have to withdraw. Does that become a crime?” Kamangira said.
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