Monday, 7 March 2011

Malawian leader calls for violence against critics

Malawi's president at a political rally on Sunday called for party faithful and or youth league to take up arms to "protect their father and discipline critics who insult me" (here, here are here). Things have been increasingly tense in the country over the last few months. A month ago, protests against fuel shortages were broken up by police. This week, a security guard at the offices of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) was attacked when he was unable to lead a group of assailants to the home of a prominent civil society leader. Civil society leaders have reportedly received death threats. Academics and students have also been targeted. 

The climate in Africa is obviously affected by what is going on in the North, but it seems unlikely that the developments in Malawi are closely related to that. Whatever the influences, this is the first time the president has openly called for violence against opponents and it can only be a bad thing for the people of Malawi. 

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