A new movement has emerged underground to lead a series of mass demonstration and civil disobedience in a bid to force the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairwoman Jane Ansah.
The fresh protests comes after a string of demonstrations which have often been broken up by police firing tear gas and governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadres have attacked demonstrators on a number of occasions.
Gift Trapence, of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which has been organising the protests, said they will work with any movement or grouping who subscribes to their agenda for electoral justice and defence of human rights as well as good governance.
A member of the movement under the hashtag ‘Osaopa’ told Nyasa Times that it was time to throw off “the yoke of bondage” of DPP.
“We want to be our own liberators and be our own solution. Malawi needs to be saved,” he said.
But government claims the opposition is behind a plot to cause instability in the country.
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi said the opoosition parties and the civil society orgaisations have recruited thugs to cause anarchy.
“Their plan has been put in place in order to create chaos in the country and instill fear with the ultimate objective of making Malawi ungovernanble,” said Dausi.
However, Dausi, who claimed the government knows the masterminds and the thugs, will not arrest the suspects this time, saying doing so would be turning them into heroes.
The demonstrations have turned violent too at times with stores being looted and cars torched, particularly in Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The organisers regretted these actions but blamed people’s anger on authorities for trying to stop the protests.
Some rioters also vandalised property belonging to ruling party politicians and engaged in opportunistic theft. The police have arrested over 200 people in connection with these crimes.
On past occasions, governments in Malawi have used the pretext of violence to prevent protests. However, even after the police publicly said they lack the capacity to manage the demonstrations, the courts insisted that people’s right to protest should not be denied due to the incompetence of the authorities.
The election was marred by allegations of fraud, including that many results sheets were altered using typewriter correction fluid called Tippex.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima have challenged the vote outcome in the court.
President Peter Mutharika, leader of the DPP, held onto power by narrowly defeating Chakwera of the MCP in the presidential vote.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :