Concerns about broader economic slowdown as Malawi protesters to take vigils to airports

Travelers to Malawi  will be greeted by thousands of  protesters, as  Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) want  to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign  or President Peter Mutharika to relieve her and team of commissioners of their  poll jobs.

Mtambo: Next vigils at airports and borders

Ahead of another week of planned unrest that is starting to hurt the countr’s economy, the anti-Jane Ansah protests organisers say the next wave of demonstrations would be to block the airports and borders to prevent people from getting in or getting out of the country.

HRDC, supported by opposition parties,  want  Ansah to resign for allegedly presiding over a flawed electoral process

Chairperson of HRDC Timothy Mtambo speaking to protestors at the end of another round of protest waves at Capital Hill, the seat of government on Wednesday, said  the next round of protests will also be extended to the country’s borders.

“This is not the end of protests. We are now thinking of taking these protests to airports and borders. We want to hold vigils there to prevent people from coming into the country or getting out,” said Mtambo.

“That will mean no one will go out and no one will come in the country. Our message is that we have a big problem to solve and we need to solve it.”

The decision by HRDC to continue with the protests comes amid a backdrop of criticism following vandalism and looting of property.

But Mtambo insisted the protests would stop only if Ansah resigns.

“We will inform the nation on our final determination. This should, however, go as message to President Peter Mutharika and his cabinet that we have heard that some cabinet members are refusing to have Dr. Ansah step down. Later on, we will mention the names,” he said.

The protesters however failed to hold the vigil at Capital Hill as planned because Malawi Defence Force soldiers manning the gates could not allow them in.

The protesters held the vigil outside the Capital Hill premises.

Concerns are growing about a broader economic slowdown in the country following the protests but HRDC vice-chairperson Gift Trapence reiterated that the protests would continue until Ansah steps down.

“Jane Ansah must resign. There is no single election which Jane Ansah will ever be allowed to manage again. Not even a by-election. She must resign, otherwise, we are not stopping,” he said.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera could not comment on the possible airport and borders shut down.

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