The High Court has granted the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) an order to use routes of their choice in the Friday’s anti-government demonstrations and that President Peter Mutharika should personally receive their petition on governance concerns.
The civil society organisations (CSOs) sought court intervention after Lilongwe City Council (LCC) and the Malawi Police Service (MPS) gave stringent conditions of their protests, saying the demonstrations should only take a period of two hours and thirty minutes from 7.00 am to 9.30 am at which time they shall be called off and the place for delivery of the petition is the LCC Civic Offices at city centre and nowhere else.
But in his ruling, Judge Charles Mkandawire ordered that the conditions imposed by Lilongwe City Council be set aside.
“That consequently, the applicants [Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence and Billy Mayaya] shall use the time and route indicated in the notification letter dated 3rd September 2018 and the demonstrations shall start at 7am from Lilongwe Community ground via Mchesi via Central Hospital roundabout via Lingadzi roundabout via Parliament then deliver the petition to the State President at the Capital Hill,” reads the ruling by the court.
The order means that only President Mutharika can receive the petition, according to lawyer William Chiwaya representing the CSOs.
Chiwaya said failure by President to receive the petition would be regarded as contempt of court.
But Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd Muhara said President Mutharika is scheduled to leave the country for New York to attend the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (Unga).
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said they are prepared with the demonstrations and they will stick with their planned routes.
He said protesters are being asked put on colours in the Malawi national flag: red, black and green which marks a shift from the norm of red t-shirts.
In Mzuzu, the demonstrators plan to March from Upper Stadium through Mataifa Market and High Court Roundabout to the Civic Offices where the new petition is expected to be delivered.
The demonstrations, whose theme is Restoring our Destiny, are a follow up to HRDC’s April 27 ten-point petition against poor governance which the group claims government did not fully address.
The CSOs, among other issues, want government to address worsening corruption in the country and theft of fuel worth K 1.9 billion at Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :