Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Obama Chiumia has turn down the call by the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) asking her to apologize for ordering armed police officers to arrest National Registration Bureau (NRB) officers in Mzuzu.
Police on September 17 2017 arrested 14 NRB officers in Mzuzu allegedly after Chiumia, accompanied by armed police officers, ambushed a meeting they were holding to demand arrears dating back to May 2017.
The minister, who went undercover to establish what was being discussed, is alleged to have been tipped off about the meeting held at Shoprite premises in the city.
The 14, who were charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit a felony, were granted police bail after spending a night in cell at Mzuzu Police Station.
The arrest attracted debate among Malawians with others questioning the Minister’s conduct and MCTU asked for an apology from Chiumia or the body will report the Minister to International Labour Organization.
Speaking in an interview with Nation Publications Limited, Chiumia accused MCTU of blowing up the issue.
“I am being asked to apologise. I am being asked to resign. I mean, for what? This issue is not as simple as they think and it will not end here. There are procedures being carried out, including going to court, and I will comment more when the whole issue is finalised.
“What is it that they want from me? Why are they dragging government into this? I did it in my personal capacity as a good citizen of Malawi not as a minister. They do not know the root cause of all this. I mean, there is no way you can order the police to arrest anybody. You just report,” Chiumia was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile NRB officers are demanding MK140 million from the Minister as compensation.