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Malawian Opposition Leaders Charged With Sedition

In Malawi, some leaders of the main opposition United Democratic Front party (UDF) were recently arrested and charged with sedition. This comes after the leaders held a news conference and played a tape in which President Bingu Wa Mutharika was reportedly giving instructions to a government official to harass former President Bakili Muluzi by arresting him on graft charges among others.

UDF spokesman of, Sam Mpasu said he was also arrested and charged with sedition on Sunday in connection with a CD that was played during the party’s news conference.

“Today Sunday, the police came to my residence in Blantyre, looking for me and they asked me to go to the Limbe police at half past five and I was there for about an hour. I was also charged with sedition in connection with the same CD (compact disk) and have also been given police bail. So on Tuesday, we will appear to the police again,” he said.

Mpasu said somebody might have left the alleged CD in the party’s office though they could not tell who was behind it.

“We received the CD in an anonymous parcel at the UDF headquarters. It was a kind of envelope that had no return address or sender’s address, and naturally living in the kind of world that we live in, we felt it was some kind of parcel bomb. So when we checked the CD and we played it we heard that funny conversation. We do receive a lot of anonymous letters, but this is the first time we received a CD.

Mpasu said the UDF was very surprised when the minister of information held a press conference demanding the arrest of people who were behind the releasing of the CD.

“But what we got surprised with was that, as soon as the CD was played, the minister of information, Patricia Kaliati ordered the arrests, and we were wondering why a politician, a minister should maintain the kind of tradition we’ve been complaining about that our arrests are politically motivated. They are ordered by politicians not by the law enforcement agencies. So we were not surprised when we were arrested,” he noted.

Mpasu denied the intention of the opposition UDF party was to undermine the peace and security in the country.

“No, no, no far from it, what we are saying is that as a country that is bound to respect the rule of law, then the rule of law is for the agencies not for politicians to order the arrests of people, so we are saying and proving,” he said.