LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – The detention of a Nyasatimes journalist Mr Watipaso Mzungu appears aimed at intimidating journalists, the Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) has said.
Mzungu was on Tuesday morning summoned to Police headquarters in Area 30, Lilongwe allegedly over a story that described President Dr Lazarus Chakwera as a “joker, a time-waster and a comedian.”
According to Mzungu, he was interrogated over the article he published on Nyasatimes quoting a statement from Cdedi which was reacting to Chakwera’s change of tune on cabinet appointment released on April 1, 2021.
Said Mzungu: “They asked for a raw copy of my story and correspondence with the director for Cdedi (Mr Slyvester Namiwa).
“I submitted everything they wanted. They said they thought I used strong language to describe the President as a comedian but I said I was only quoting a statement.”
Mzungu said after the interrogation the head of CID ordered his release “unconditionally”
Cdedi’s Namiwa has since said Mzungu’s detention looks intended to intimidate journalists.
Said Cdedi’s executive director Namiwa: “Cdedi would like to remind the Tonse Alliance government under President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera that Malawi is no longer a one-party state which was characterised by rule of darkness, fear and death.”
He said the detention of Mzungu was a “futile attempt” by Chakwera’s administration to instill fear in journalists in the country, “a development that can easily be construed as a tactic to stifle media freedom and freedom of expression in Malawi.”
Cdedi said Malawi Police Service (MPS) and President Chakwera should know that “Malawians will never be intimidated with such acts by the police, in a democratic state where everyone is supposed to enjoy freedom of expression.”
The statement further said: “It is for this reason that CDEDI is challenging government that Malawi will never slide back to dictatorship and that CDEDI and it’s leadership will never retreat or surrender.”