Embattled Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia has refused to resign or even apologise for her order to arrest 14 National Registration Bureau (NRB) officers in Mzuzu, justifying her action as good citizenship.
Chiumia: I reported to police as a good citizen of Malawi and did not order arrest as a minister
The 14 were arrested by Mzuzu police on Sunday 17th September, 2017 and were charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit a felony but were later granted police bail reportedly to allow police conduct some investigations.
Chiumia has defied threats by Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) to take Malawi government to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Association if it (government) if there will be no open apology from her.
MCTU also demanded a statement from government condemning Chiumia’s conduct, immediate payment of the concerned workers’ salaries and arrears and professionalism on the part of police.
But the Minister has insisted she was right to report to police the NRB officers “as a good and responsible citizen after sensing danger.”
Chiumia said she reported to Police as a citizen and not in her official capacity as a Cabinet Minister directly responsible for internal security.
“I did it in my personal capacity as a good citizen of Malawi not as a minister,” she said.
She said it was very unfortunate and regrettable that MCTU were demanding for her apology and to stand down from Cabinet over the matter.
““I have no intention to step down,” said Chiumia, adding “And I will not apologise, for what?”
Chiumia said the matter is in court, saying she will “comment more when there whole issue is finalised.”
The Minister said MCTU should wait to know the “root cause” of the whole matter.
In a statement co-signed by its president Luther Mambala and secretary general Dennis Kalekeni, MCTU described the arrest of NRB stand as a violation of human rights citing freedom of association as enshrined in the Malawi Constitution.
“We want government to condemn these barbaric acts, or else, MCTU shall have no option but to include these actions in our report to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Association for government to appear before the committee next year in June during the International Labour Conference,” reads the statement.
NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira said the arrest affected the bureau’s operations
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