By Pilirani Kachinziri:
Lilongwe Police Tuesday arrested human rights activists Gift Trapence and Macdonald Sembereka over allegations that they misappropriated funds.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said the police received a complaint from UNAids about the misappropriated funds.
UNAids did not corroborate police’s version of the issue.
Kadadzera, however, did not disclose the amount of money involved but confirmed that the two are under the fraud and fiscal police section.
“They have just been arrested. UNAids complained about the misappropriated funds. We will give you all the details later,” he said.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya has since described the arrest as a ploy to silence Trapence, who has been vocal on the anti- Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) demonstrations, asking for its Chairperson Jane Ansah’s resignation.
Mayaya alleged that the two are being accused of misappropriating K7 million meant for Lesbian, Gay Biosexual and Transgender activities.
“We know that this is a ploy to silence Trapence because of his involvement in leading the anti-Mec demonstrations. It is not true that they embezzled the funds,” he said.
However, Minister of Information, Mark Botomani, has distanced the government from the issue.
“I have just read it from social media because I am outside the country. But we categorically refute those allegations. There is no way the government can do that,” he said.
Trapence, who is Human Rights Defenders Coalition Deputy Chairperson, has been organising demonstrations to force Ansah to resign for allegedly failing to properly manage the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Sembereka was also on the forefront coordinating nationwide protests in Malawi on July 20 2011.
He was the target of an arson attack on September 10 2011.