Civil Society Orgaisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have been cautioned to tread carefully over the self-destruction to the nation the planned airport and border shutdown will have huge negative impact to the country’s economy.
HRDC said it wants airport and border entry points shutdown for five days from this August 26 aimed at forcing President Peter Mutharika to fire Jane Ansah as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson since she has refused the calls to resign for allegedly presiding over fraudulent May 21 Tripartite Elections..
However, commentators have cautioned HRDC that their proposed action – a copy cat from Hong Kong protests – seems suicidal, as this may worsen the already ailing economy and that the grouping should reflect on who will be the biggest loser – the millions of Malawians or the MEC chair.
Reports say should the protests affect the airports, a total 32 flights are at risk of disruption with Malawian Airlines being the hardest hit. About 18 flights to be grounded, 32 international flights to be taken off Malawi skies and the government will lose K100 millionin landing, airport service fees.
Department of Civil Aviation deputy director (Regulation) James Chakwera said airports shutdown could see aviation players and government lose revenue in excess of K 1 billion.
“It is very sensitive to disruptions such as cancellations and delays, the cost could even be higher than K1 billion,” Chakwera said in quotes reported by the local press.
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo on Tuesday said the grouping is aware of the huge negative impact the airport and border shutdown will have on the country’s economy.
He said this next wake of demonstrations should “propel President Peter Mutharika, as the appointing authority, to fire Jane Ansah as MEC chairperson.”
President Mutharika has ignored calls for Ansah’s removal in the past three months.
Given the extent of the demonstrations’ damage thus far, the HRDC are being advised to wait upon the courts and those pursuing dialogue on the impasse.
And president of Insurance Association of Malawi (IAM) Donbell Mandala has said property worth billions of kwacha, destroyed during the Anti-Ansah demonstrations will go uncompensated because insurance companies do not indemnify damages caused by political and civil riots.
Nationwide protests broke out across the country following opposition political parties’ displeasure at how the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) managed the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
President Peter Mutharika was re-elecred with just 39% of the vote in a wide field. His opponents, led by runner-up Lazarus Chakwera, accused Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of tampering with results in some parts of the country.
Efforts to block Mutharika’s inauguration failed and protesters have been on the street ever since. In some instances their activities have turned violent, but the court has upheld their right to demonstrate despite regime efforts to shut down the protests.
Attorney General has taken up the matter to Supreme Court of Appeal to save the nation from more self-destruction through the demonstrations.
The country has essentially been at a three-month standstill and commentators say there should be sobriety at what is good for the country in the long run.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :