Two Malawi rights campaigners detained over fraud allegations: police

Wednesday July 10 2019

Malawi rights defender Gift Trapence.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition vice chairman Gift Trapence in 2011. He and Reverend MacDonald Sembereka recently organised protests against President Peter Mutharika's re-election and have now been detained over allegations of fraud. PHOTO | GETTY IMAGES | BBC 

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Police in Malawi have detained two Malawian rights activists who helped organise protests over the recent re-election of Peter Mutharika, AFP news agency and local media are reporting.

Gift Trapence and Reverend MacDonald Sembereka are being held over allegations of fraud and stealing money from Aids programmes, AFP quotes police spokesman James Kadadzera as saying.

"What I can confirm is that they we have a complainant in the form of UNAids who came to lodge a grievance with the police," Mr Kadadzera told AFP.

"While I do not have the actual figures, I can confirm that the money runs into millions of Malawi kwachas."

Mr Trapence is vice chairman of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition and Rev Sembereka is a member of the group, which has been behind a series of demonstrations over how the presidential elections in May were run.


Mr Mutharika, who first became president in 2014, was narrowly elected to a second term in office with 38.5% of the vote. But the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said there had been vote-rigging.