(For immediate release
22nd August 2019)
THE PRESIDENT ACTING IN THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE
Government wishes to dismiss efforts by enemies of the truth who are trying hard to misrepresent remarks and directives that His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, the President of the Republic of Malawi, made on 21st August 2019 in Mangochi on plans by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and their cohorts to disrupt airports and borders through demonstrations.
The President is a true democrat and a tolerant gentleman. His record speaks for itself. Since he came to power in May 2014, he has never stopped any demonstration in Malawi. Therefore no one has a basis for accusing him of being against peaceful demonstrations or contravening any written or unwritten law in this country.
So far, the HRDC, supported by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Transformation Movement (UTM), have held several demonstrations in Malawi without resistance from the President and his Government despite them being violent and destructive.
Government wishes to reiterate the position of the President that the Constitution of this Republic allows peaceful demonstrations only and that the same should not violate other existing rights. Therefore, any human rights defender worthy the name has a duty of ensuring that all rights provided in the Constitution are defended and safeguarded.
Plans to disrupt borders and airports are not in the spirit of peaceful demonstrations. Clearly, they are an act of aggression with the aim of undermining the State and threatening national security.
While defending the right for holding peaceful demonstrations, Government will not allow that national security should be breached and the rights of those not taking part in the demonstrations subverted. The point has to be emphasized that the right to demonstrate is not a supreme right.
As such, Government wishes to assure the general public and the international community that measures have been put in place to ensure that our airports and borders continue to operate normally during the period of the planned demonstrations.
To the organisers, the warning still stands that the demonstrations should be called off unconditionally. Any attempt to proceed with them will be met with force and never say you were not warned.
Let us all love and protect our country
HON. MARK BOTOMANI, MP
MINISTER OF INFORMATION, CIVIC EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY