The Malawi leader, in a statement issued by State House addressed to Malawians, said while his administration was making every effort to develop the lives of the youth, he is “saddened that we have political and civil society leaders who use our youths in perpetrating violence.”
“These people are exploiting the poverty and vulnerability of the youth to engage in violence and politically engineered political activities. Some organisations are hiding behind defending human rights when they are actually engaging in violence, criminal activities and blatantly violating everybody’s human rights.
“These people and organisations are in fact teaching the youth of this country to be a violent society. As a country we have already witnessed our radicalised youths vandalising their own education infrastructure and committing serious crimes over petty issues. This is wrong, and a serious crime against an entire generation of the youths whom we must teach to resolve their disputes by using dialogue and the rule of law,” said Mutharika.
The President was apparently referring to violent demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) aiming at forcing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign. In the process, police stations, schools and other private and public property have been burnt down.
And on Friday last week, Mkukula Magistrate Court in Dowa, convincted and sentenced Ibrahim Mbalaka, 19, 13 months in prison for stealing a riot gun from a police armoured vehicle during the August 6 demonstrations that were organised by the HRDC in Lilongwe. Second Grade Magistrate Thom Mididi handed down the sentence saying the teenager had compromised national security.
And he reasons: “When we burn police units, we are violating the people’s right to security. When we kill a police man and proceed to create propaganda that demonises the police instead of regretting and condemning the murder, we are creating a lawless society.
"When we go around stoning schools and mobilising students to be violent, we are violating the youth’s right to education. When we cause violence on the streets so that innocent vendors must not do business, we are violating the people’s right to do business and the right to feed their families.”
This year, the International Human Rights Day is commemorated under the global theme: “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights”
The United Nation General Assembly set aside the day to commemorate the adoption, on 10th December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human and Peoples’ Rights (UDHPR).
The Declaration is the first global enunciation of human rights and freedoms to which all human beings are inherently entitled.