National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera says the police are still investigating cases of petrol bomb attacks that have occurred in the country in the past few months.
In a statement made available to Nation Online on Monday following reports of a foiled attack on Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence in Lilongwe, Kadadzera said police are working hard to stop the bombings.
He said: “[Malawi Police Service] MPS assures Malawians that they are conducting intensive investigations to bring to book all perpetrators and put these bombings to a complete stop.”
Trapence in a written response confirmed the foiled attack, but said he did not report the incident to police because the law enforcing agency has failed to conclude similar cases, including that of his HRDC compatriot Timothy Mtambo.
He said: “We do not trust the police. Even if we report, they do not do anything. Up to now they have done nothing on the cases of petrol-bombing of the houses of Mr Mtambo in Lilongwe and Chitipa.”
Trapence, who said the suspects came to his house in a white Toyota Prado TX, further said they are documenting the cases and compiling a report for international human rights platforms.
Meanwhile, commentators have described the escalating cases of attacks on human rights activists and other opposition political party members as retrogressive and an insult to democracy.
In separate interviews on Monday, governance commentators Makhumbo Munthali and Humphrey Mvula said the continued attacks signal weak democratic institutions.
Since July this year, there have been seven cases where houses belonging to either HRDC members, relations or Malawi Congress Party (MCP) members have been torched or petrol-bombed by unknown assailants.
Among some of the recorded incidences include the torching of MCP director of youth Richard Chimwendo Banda’s residence in Dowa on July 9; the torching of MCP Southern Region offices on July 22 and the petrol-bombing of HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo’s vehicle at his house in Lilongwe on August 15.
Other incidences include the petrol-bombing of Mtambo’s house in his home village in Chitipa on August 22; the petrol-bombing of MCP campaign director Moses Kunkuyu’s car at his residence in Nancholi on August 23 and the foiled attack on Trapence.
The HRDC has been leading countrywide demonstrations to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign for presiding over an alleged flawed electoral process.