Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers have arrested four people in Karonga District for allegedly mobilising people to hold demonstrations against Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah despite Malawi Supreme Court stopping the protests.
The four allegedly went around Karonga town using a vehicle and public address system calling on people to gather at Karonga roundabout to take part in demonstrations.
Karonga Police spokesperson Enock Livason confirmed the arrest of the four identified as Gift Hadson, of Mwahimba, Davie Mwenelupembe, of Mwanganda Village, Born Mwanyongo of Mwanyongo Village, and Kondwani Mughogho of Mwakifwamba Village, all from Traditional Authority Kyungu, Karonga.
According to Livason, the four were picked by MDF soldiers after they were found going around town mobilising people to participate in the demonstrations.
The soldiers surrendered the four to Karonga Police.
“It’s the MDF soldiers that arrested them and brought them to police,” he said.
The four have been charged with publication of false news likely to cause fear and alarm to the public which is contrary to Section 60 of Penal Code.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition deputy chairperson (North) Steve Simsokwe claimed the four had no intentions to disregard the court order but the problem was that there was communication breakdown in the district regarding the cancelled demonstrations.
“Some people had come from far to participate in the protests. People gathered at the roundabout and it is there where some got the news that there were no demos,” he said. The four have since been released on court bail.