President Peter Mutharika has taken a swipe at the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) describing the organization as “slowly degenerating into a terrorist group.”
Speaking in his New Year address to the nation, President Mutharika called on political leaders to desist from politics of violence, before taking a jab at the pro-rights organization.
“Violence victimized innocent people and damages those causing it alike,” warned Mutharika.
“My appeal goes to all political leaders including the leaders of HRDC because HRDC is by its actions a political organization,” he retorted in his address.
Mutharika further said the HRDC is a political organization that is slowly degenerating into a terrorist organization because, he alleges, its leaders enjoy creating terror among the Malawians.
However, HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo instantly took to Facebook, firing back at Mutharika.
“As a leader of HRDC, an organization I am so proud of its noble service to our beloved country, I would not keep quiet seeing you or your operatives call this innocent organization, its leaders and members names,” write Mtambo on his Facebook page.
He added: “If fighting corruption, impunity and various human rights violations which have characterized your government is an act of terrorism, then we are ready to be called terrorists. If peacefully demonstrating or protesting against an election which was marred with massive irregularities.”
Mtambo referred the Malawi leader to acts of violence perpetrated against human rights defenders by suspected operatives of his governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“I am entering 2020 so sad and disappointed because of your careless message but know this Mr. Mutharika, one day you shall be held accountable of what you have been doing and saying,” writes Mtambo.
Mtambo, who recently reportedly survived a gun attack and an arson in Lilongwe at the height of the post elections protests, says the president’s New Year address only perpetuates the vulnerability of those perceived to be against his regime.
“For now, continue calling us names but the struggle continues,” reads Mtambo’s post.
While Mutharika took the opportunity of reiterating his position that last year’s elections were “peaceful, free, fair, credible and professionally managed”, the court is yet to make a ruling on the matter and others, including the HRDC, say will continue to fight for electoral justice to prevail.
In his New Year’s message, MCP President Lazarus Chakwera has expressed optimism that justice will prevail on the elections case.
Court verdict on the elections case is expected in under 30 days.