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Malawian nurse arrested for insulting President Chakwera online

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A 39-year-old Malawian nurse, Chidawawa Mainje, has been arrested and charged with cyber harassment for allegedly insulting President Lazarus Chakwera online during a WhatsApp debate on governance.

According to free speech advocates in the southern African country, Mainje who was arrested in line with the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act 2016 which prohibits insulting someone online, faces up to
five years in prison and a fine of $2,500 if found guilty.

Mainje was arrested on Tuesday after reportedly used an expletive on the instant messaging service about how the Chakwera has done nothing to change the lives of people who voted for him.

According to Michael Kayiyatsa, the Executive Director for rights group, Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, the arrest of Mainje was a violation of freedom of expression.

“The guy who was arrested was expressing an opinion which was not favorable to the president. But it’s within his right to express such views, and he is protected by Section 35 of our constitution.

“So, the best that police should have done is simply to provide advice, but this is somebody expressing their views,” Kayiyatsa said in a statement.

Another human rights activist, Billy Banda, the founder of Malawi Watch, said the police are now being used to help shield the current administration from public criticism.

“The police are not entitled in any way to sound like they are protecting one particular individual.

“Are the police able to look back? We had the former president, Professor Peter Mutharika. He was insulted. He never in any way arrested or directed anybody to be arrested.”

But Harry Namwaza, the deputy spokesperson for the Malawi Police Service, while defending the arrest of Mainje, said there was no way he could enjoy freedom of his rights while infringing on the rights of others.

“You can’t enjoy your freedom or your rights while at the same time you are infringing the rights of others. It doesn’t work like that. There should be a responsibility. So, it’s a criminal offense. That’s why we have arrested him,” Namwaza said.

“Of course, people may have different opinions, but we are bound to ensure that laws are being respected, laws are being enforced. So, we are just doing our job,” Namwaza added.

Mainje’s arrest comes a week after police arrested a 51-year-old man for allegedly insulting the Minister of Labour, Vera Kamtukule, in his WhatsApp group post.

Metro

Zambia: Golden Party leader Silavwe accuses Hichilema of weaponising state institutions

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Leader of the Golden Party of Zambia (GPZ), Jackson Silavwe, has accused President Hakainde Hichilema of weaponising and mobilising state institutions against the country’s citizens.

Silavwe who made the claim in a statement he issued in Lusaka on Tuesday, said the President had used institutions such as the Police, Judiciary and Parliament against citizens and groups holding critical or contrary views to his administration.

Silavwe further alleged that President Hichilema had strayed from the vision he outlined in his President-elect speech at Community House.

President Hichilema must return to full democracy, the one he once preached about when he was in the opposition,” Silavwe said in the statement.

He went on to accuse the Hichilema administration of branding critics as “enemies of the state, and using thugs, state machinery to arrest and persecute them.”

“President Hichilema and his circle of power have attached personal emotions to the laws of the land, justifying their repugnant conduct while neglecting the real problems facing our people, such as the high cost of living,” Silavwe stated.

He, however, warned that the weaponization of state institutions is a double-edged sword that would ultimately harm both the President and the nation.

“There is no better ending to what he has initiated. He must change course,” Silavwe advised.

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‘Stop complaining, you’re not the only ones facing poverty,’ Tinubu tells Nigerians

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President Bola Tinubu has told Nigerians to stop complaining as they are not the only ones facing poverty and hardship in the world.

Tinubu, who gave the charge when he received a delegation from the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, alongside the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, who came to felicitate with him on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir in Lagos, said though there was poverty and suffering in the country, the challenges would not be tackled by complaining.

According to a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale, the President said one of the ways of tackling the myriad of challenges in Nigeria is to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can return to the farm.

According to the President, it is imperative for Nigerians to have a change of value system for the nation to make progress.

“Yes, there is poverty; there is suffering in the land. We are not the only people facing such, but we must face our challenges,” Tinubu said.

“We must find a way to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can bring out food from the farmland.

“If you do not have good roads to bring the food to the population, even if you grow the food and you are losing 60-70 per cent to damages, you will pay the price,” the President added.

He also challenged Nigerians to have a change of mindset about the country if the nation is to overcome its current challenges.

“The need for some citizens to change the rent-seeking mindset and become more productive to the economy is a challenge. The need to stop smuggling and all economic sabotage.

“Why should we have people removing rail tracks and all that, stealing electric cables and sabotaging the economy?

“We must embrace the campaign to change our value system. We must tell our people that the challenge we face is for all of us to change our mindset about our country.

“It is daunting, but we cannot run away from the fact that this country must survive the hardship,” Tinubu stressed.

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