Forum for National Development (FND) has asked President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to discipline Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Grace Obama Chiumia for her role in incarceration of 14 National Registration Bureau (NRB) workers in Mzuzu.

Chiumia on Sunday ordered the arrest of 42 NRB workers of which 14 spent a night in police cell for holding a meeting at Shoprite premises to demand arrears dating back to May 2017.

NRB workers were released on police bail on Monday but to the surprise of many the workers were not taken to court to be formally charged.

The arrest has attracted social media debates and FND has demanded an action to be taken on the Minister, saying his action is disgrace to the government and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“FND would like to call upon the Government and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to discipline and take action on the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Grace Obama Chiumia for her role in incarceration of 14 NRB workers in Mzuzu. Hon Chiumia’s actions have disgraced the Government and DPP and embarrassed the many that revere the name Obama who she idolizes. We humbly ask her to stop using this name which is a symbol of democratic Excellency and free speech worldwide

“As a Minister, she should not have stooped so low to eavesdrop in a lawful assembly of young people who just wanted to discuss issues affecting their livelihoods. She went ahead and abused her powers to order the arrest of the innocent young people,” reads in part the statement.

Added the statement: “FND is appalled with the whole fiasco and fears that such abuse of power, if not checked, may escalate. How can the whole cabinet Minister forget that we are in multiparty democracy where freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are enshrined in the
republican constitution; therefore any Malawian has a right to assemble and discuss issues affecting him or her Time and again we have heard of how the young people employed by the National Registration Bureau (NRB) have been subjected to bad labour practices and not being paid on time.”

FND has also asked the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) and Law Society of Malawi to act on the matter.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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