Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mutharika's dictatorship hits a new low: Unima's Blessings Chinsinga summoned by Inspector General of Police

Things continue to get worse in Malawi on the governance front. The arrogance and disregard of the rule of law and people's rights demonstrated by the Mutharika regime continues unabated. This is despite recent donor actions to suspend aid due to poor governance as well as crippling shortages of fuel, forex, water and electricity, to mention but a few ills.
Now it has just come to my attention that my good friend and occasional contributor to this blog, Blessings Chinsinga, was this morning (12 February, 2011) summoned to appear before the Inspector General of Malawi Police to respond to allegations that he has been inciting students to demonstrate against the government.
Needless to say I am so mad to hear this story and enraged that the Bingu government is sinking so low as to threaten University academics with serious yet unfounded accusations. In any case, the right to demonstrate is enshrined under Section 38 of the Malawi Constitution so it should be no crime to even contemplate organizing one (as indeed is happening with the Monday demonstration organized by HRCC and others). To his credit, Blessings, is taking a more philosophical and reflective approach to this sad episode. I can only hope this does not silence him and other critics who courageously speak in defence of Malawi's hard-won democracy.
From my understanding of the matter at hand, it would appear the Inspector General is using students to act as informers on their lecturers and report any criticism of government made in the lecturer rooms. And judging by the fact that the IG had to travel all the well from Lilongwe to meet Blessings in Zomba suggests that the police hierarchy are taking these informants very seriously. Blessings' alleged 'crime' is to have given examples about the ongoing difficulties of lack of forex, fuel etc as examples of issues that can instigate the kind of demonstrations recently seen in Tunisia and Egypt.
In my view, the lecture room is the academic's sanctum - one needs to be free to speak and provide concrete, relevant and contemporary examples - preferably local ones - without the fear of being summoned bto appear before the Police. I have to say that inspite his ineptitude, the former President, Bakili Muluzi never resorted to such grotesque tactics to silence us. And we will not be silenced.


Harold Williams said...

I am now furious with our President and Government. We have rights. We must exercise them or watch our muscles waste away. We must be prepared to go to prison, if necessary, and hope that our Constitution will give us the protection that it promises. We should refuse to co-operate with 'summonses' from the Police that have no legal force. The Constitution is our weapon and our shield. Let the Police continue to demonstrate that they are the law-breakers. I'm still waiting for my summons. They'll have to come and get me!!

Anonymous said...

The government must stop finding senseless reasons for every hardship we meet, how can they keep on justifying the mess they create? The government placing blame of their failure on petty reasons is outrageous. Don't blame anyone for the mess, its your incompetence and negligence, your lack of coordination, we chose you to govern us, not to shout at us. we might start demanding our vote back. Don't overstretch our patience Mr president.

if we had the basisc at our disposal, we might not be complaining and asking for your intervention for redress of such. But how do we explain blackouts, water, fuel forex hardship, plus other issues at hand.

the E C closed for corruption? do we close the whole office or we fire and elect an interim? does that not look fishy and up to something. when they declare poor governance, they mean just that. then we end up with no local elections, you hide behind the absense of the EC, is that not predetermined and delibarately set? how do you send to embasyy people suspected of corruption? mwatiyenjeza.

Do your assignment again and reflect upon our current situation, kneel down and ask God and your wisdom to work around the clock, stop blaming the logistics and other arrangements for the delay in fuel, why this time? I might sound adamat to listen and appreciate that the boma is trying, well you are trying not good enough.

Intimidating and publicly speaking against Civil society is like saying their existence is bogus. we all recognise them, they are a voice of the voiceless. and when people come together and try to express their disatisfaction, it doesnot mean they are paid by donors, why should they. well if they are, some of us are seriously failed by your government.

No amount of kuzibakila will redress our mess, its time we accepted our weaknesses and make things right with a sober mind.
Don't ever under estimate the power of the people, in togetherness and oneness, there lies our strength, the very same people who sang praises and voted for you, the same can peacefully ask you to let go.

I am a no body, but who is very much a victim and not enthralled with state of affairs. no one can cry on my behalf but me, and unluckily you can not hear me.
I will not take it and accept that logistics is creating all our mess, there must be a better valid explanation.Otherwise a failed state can not be less qualified in this our case.

kim yi dionne said...

This is indeed very sad. Anyone who knows Blessings will know that whatever one's political opinions, the classroom is an open space for learning and engagement. What better way to teach young people than to use the tools of current events? *sigh*

nick said...

Thank you, Boni, for alerting us to this latest outrage. Blessings has our support in his IG "interview", as do the Lilongwe marchers today! This government seems to be in the hands of frightened people and crawling sycophants.
Fortunately not all Malawians are such ---!
Let's watch developments.

Anonymous said...

Mr Chinsinga is not a man to do the eveils that other men do. He is a straight forward person who will call a spade a spade. However, I am just intereted to know the police why they chose Chinsinga as a person on these matters? Boni, I ahve many isues to tell the public on how Dausi is working using his MYP expereince supported by Ntaba, the two Bngu has trusted them verymuch despite the shrt commings of both. The Naitional Intelligence Office former Taiwan Embassy is the office of Dausi who acts as miniter for State Security and Ntaba as usual is a person who has answers to everything. Do you remeber that Ntaba announced to the nationa that Cancer ys Ethel Muntharika was spread everywhere (Paliponse) meaning she had cervic cancer which would affect the husbadnd as well. They do not respect the lives of others but their own and Bingu is using them effectively. Bingu should leave the office before 2014 because we will be in tarters by then at the rate he is harraisng his critiques.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to be very honest with the President about the real state of affairs in this country. Perhaps there are "filters" who tell him what they thinks he should hear.

Harold Williams said...

"Someone has to be honest with the President"
Haven't we said this about successive President's - Dr. Banda and Bakili Muluzi. "If only he knew .... "
If the President doesn't know, if prevous presidents didn't know, it was because of the culture or the system that THEY encouraged.
Can you see any civil servant telling Bingu anything that would displease him? That would bring immediate retribution. Tell him lies to keep him happy and put off the evil day. After all he may never discover the lie or the truth!

Unknown said...

Let us all refuse to speak in whispers. We are Malawians, and this is our country. I say Let us all stand Up against dictatorial traits. Long Live Malawi, and Long Live Genuine Democracy. We can not say God Bless Malawi, if we live in fears and tatters. Is it a crime to speak the truth, and when did that become. Is it a crime to say Malawi has no fuel. Is it it long to criticize and oppose the government over its decisions. I say No!!! We All SAY NO!!!!!

Unknown said...

No need to wonder around: Here is what I know, and I am ready to go down low with it, just like Daniel and Co some generations ago.

Section 38: Every person shall have the right to assemble and demonstrate with others “peacefully” and “unarmed”.

Under this section, unlike Section 37, there is no conditional clause to guide the section. The condition clause attached to Section 37, says “…subject to any Act of Parliament”.

Additionally, Section 32 (1) asserts that “every person shall have the right to freedom of association…”

I don’t have to be Professor Kanyongolo, His Lordship the Professor of law at Chancellor College, to understand that there is no mention of seeking permission from the third party, say Lilongwe City Council if you are to host a demonstration under section 38 as a forum for your Right to freedom of expression as enshrined under Section 35.

I am quite aware of Section 5 that affirms strongly that “Any act of Government or any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be invalid”. Should I therefore argue that the bylaw that says we have to seek permission from City Assemblies is invalidated by the Constitution of The Republic of Malawi, which is the Supreme Law in this Land named Malawi.

Behold I say unto you Citizens of this Landlocked country, time is coming when all the police, the armed forces, and the Honorable City Council Executives will join us, the street mongers, the mere plebeians, the unknown to the world, and take it to the streets with us in harmony. Dishonorable Members of Parliament will leave their chamber and ululate and clap hands with us as we demand answers.

This note is also available on my FB account:!/note.php?note_id=190640920958100

Anonymous said...

its a shame that this govenment is busy trying to find ways and means of silencing some publications as well as some people. I personally think people should not be threatened into suppressing critical thinking abilities and adopt whatever ideas the government has put in place. These people are failing to divert their attention to address more important issues like shortage of drugs in govenment hospitals,so y shouldnt we voice out?

Unknown said...

They can Cage Us, but They can never Cage our Honor...God Bless Malawi

Charlene said...