President Chakwera criticizes cyber crime arrests amidst plane crash tragedy

By Burnett Munthali

President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday July 6, 2024, voiced his discontent regarding recent arrests linked to cyber crime allegations following the tragic plane crash that claimed the life of Vice-President Saulos Chilima and eight others. Speaking during the Independence Day National Service of Worship in Lilongwe, President Chakwera urged the Police to exercise consideration, recognizing that amidst such disasters, people may act out of confusion and distress.

The arrests, which include Rumphi East legislator Kamlepo Kalua and human rights activist Bon Kalindo, are connected to the dissemination of voice notes (VNs) related to the plane crash. Authorities suspect these recordings may contain content that violates the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act.

President Chakwera

President Chakwera’s remarks underscored the need for a balanced approach in law enforcement, especially in sensitive situations where emotions run high. “During times of national tragedy, it is crucial that law enforcement agencies exercise sensitivity and discernment in their actions,” Chakwera emphasized, addressing concerns over the handling of the cyber crime allegations amidst mourning and public distress.

The President’s comments reflect broader sentiments within the community and civil society, echoing calls for procedural fairness and respect for freedom of expression, even in the midst of legal investigations. The arrests have sparked debate regarding the appropriate balance between security concerns and civil liberties, particularly in a context overshadowed by profound national grief.

As the investigation unfolds, the nation remains attentive to developments surrounding both the plane crash investigation and the legal proceedings related to the cyber crime allegations. The situation serves as a reminder of the complexities inherent in upholding both security and fundamental rights in the aftermath of tragic events.

President Chakwera’s plea for consideration amidst adversity resonates as Malawi navigates through a period of mourning and legal scrutiny, seeking to uphold justice while respecting the dignity and rights of all involved.