By IOMMIE CHIWALO
The strange and persistent infringement of democratic principle of rule of law by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) administration has compelled Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), to condemn the recent detentions without trials that are evidently bypassing the courts.
In a statement released Friday and signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa says his organisation seek the intervention of President Lazarus Chakwera in taming Minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale-Ng’oma and other officials to respect the rule of law and, at all cost, in dealing with the recampment of refugees and assylum seekers.
Namiwa says authorities should desist from making public utterances that may stir unnecessary panic and end up creating undesirable situations in the country.
He cited recent public sentiments by Zikhale-Ng’oma and the Commissioner General for Refugees Ignacio Maulana (retired) to the effect that Malawi is hosting 44 former Rwandan Army Generals as an example.
Namiwa says it is sad that despite the utterances not only stirring fear among the general public but also shown how vulnerable our country because of its porous borders, is business as usual but in a serious country such a revelation would have forced heads to roll.
The CDEDI Executive Director has also expressed shock over the approach employed when tracking down the illegal immigrants, whereby police are hauling and bundling people, sometimes just based on their looks, and taking them to police or prison cells without giving them reasons for their detention.
“This is strange and, to say the least, unacceptable. In the spirit of the rule of law, CDEDI wishes to remind the Minister of Homeland Security that Malawi has clear set judicial procedures where, within 48 hours of arrest any suspect, regardless of nationality, is supposed to be taken to court,” he said.
While calling for the rule of law to prevail by letting issues of migration to be handled by the Department of Immigration and Citizen Services as per its constitutional mandate, Namiwa has reminded Minister of Homeland Security that Malawi has extradition procedures that need to be followed when dealing with those suspected to have committed crimes in other countries.
Meanwhile a grouping of Rwandan refugees have said that the conduct of Malawi government authorities in ill-treating them is based on false intelligence.
A statement in our possession signed by representative of Concerned Refugees and Assylum seekers from Rwanda, Odette Narukundo, is urging the Malawi Government to tread carefully on the instructions from Kigali.
In the epistle headlined ‘RWANDAN AUTHORITIES ARE USING LIES TO TARNISH REFUGEES IMAGE IN MALAWI’, the grouping has made serious allegations that the Malawi Government and other stakeholders should not merely wish away.
For instance they have alleged that Ministry of Homeland Security [short of saying the Malawi Government] is being used by Kigali [Rwanda] to victimise them owing to the Tutsi and Hutu ethnical rivalry background.
“Nonetheless, CDEDI believes that the Minister of Homeland Security owes the nation an explanation or two on the same,” he said.