Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Central Region chairperson Reverend MacDonald Sembereka has described an attack on him in the early hours of Monday as a ploy to frustrate his fight for human rights.
About five unknown people are said to have raided his house, but he and his family were not hurt.
In an interview yesterday morning, Sembereka said the thugs first burned tyres outside his house in Njewa, along Lilongwe-Mchinji Road before firing bullets at his house and throwing a petrol bomb inside his fence.
He said: “I have guards but when they saw the attackers, who were heavily armed, they ran for their lives. It was around 1am when the incident happened.
“I was still awake and witnessed it all. We are fortunate that they did not reach the house because it is a bit far from the entrance. They burned the tyres outside to block our way out.”
According to Sembereka, the thugs got into the compound while firing bullets and shouting that he must stop getting involved in the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations.
Sembereka’s attack comes barely seven days after HRDC national chairperson Timothy Mtambo was also attacked.
In a telephone interview, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed receiving a report on Sembereka’s attack.
He said: “As police, we will do everything possible to investigate the issue.”
Kadadzera assured HRDC that the police are committed to protecting human rights activists just like the rest of the public.
Meanwhile, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has condemned the attacks on human rights activists and any other person.
MHRC executive secretary David Nungu appealed to government to provide maximum protection to human rights activists, particularly now that the country is witnessing incidences of political violence.
He said: “We demand an immediate stop to attacks on human rights defenders. We also demand serious efforts towards investigations into these issues of attacks of human rights defenders.”
HRDC has been leading anti- Jane Ansah demonstrations for the past three months to force the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson to resign for allegedly presiding over a flawed elections process.
Since May 27 this year when MEC declared President Peter Mutharika of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winner of the presidential race in the May 21 Tripartite Elections with 1 940 740 votes, representing 38.8 percent, the political temperature has risen, with demonstrations which in some cases have been marred by looting and violence.