The civil society organisations (CSO) groups under the banner Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) called off planned demonstration at the country’s airports and border crossings which was to start Monday to Friday to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign after the court ordered a ban.
HRDC and opposition parties are behind the protests against the disputed May elections, which saw President Peter Mutharika re-elected.
High Court Judge Jack N’riva on Friday granted an order sought by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to ban the protest actions at the country’s international airports and border crossings.
HRDC vice chairperson Gift Trapence said they would abide by the court decision and the protestors will not close down frontiers.
But Trapence said they will keep protesting until Ansah, who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal resigns for allegedly presiding over an electoral process marred by irregularities in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
“We can assure Malawians is that the battle [to demand Ansah resigns] is still on,” Trapence said. “The constitution guarantees the right to demonstration.”
The week which was expected to be dominated with fresh post-election demonstrations aimed at shutting down key transport hubs, on Monday started relatively calm and business is as usual.
HRDC is planning demonstrations from Wednesday to Friday this week to be followed by a “two million march” in the four cities of Mzuzu, Zomba, Lilongwe and Blantyre on September 5 this year.
Thousands of Malawians have taken to the streets of various cities in recent months to protest the results of the May 21 elections, in which Mutharika was declared winner with 38.67 percent of the vote.
The Constitutional Court is currently hearing a case brought by the opposition to have the election results annulled over irregularities.
Meanwhile, some individuals whose property was damaged in the course of the anti-Ansah demonstrations held on June 20, July 4 and July 5 have dragged to court HRDC and human rights activist for damages to property worth K545 802 450.
The 26 claimants, through lawyer Chancy Gondwe, claim their property and business merchandise were damaged or looted by demonstrators.
Among the people who have lodged a complaint are Joe Thomas Nyirongo (first clamant) who claims to have lost property worth K105 million. The property includes Aunt Tine Lodge and Stone House Lodge.
Dennis Moyo also claims in the summons that property worth K150 million was damaged at his house during the demonstrations.
The respondents in the case are HDRC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo, his deputy Gift Trapence, Billy Mayaya, Masauko Thawe, Madalitso Banda, Thoko Mapemba and Beatrice Moyo, with the eighth defendant being HRDC.
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi also said government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) will claim for damages to property from HRDC.
Dausi directed the MDAs to obtain expert reports on the value of losses and damages and estimated costs for inclusion in the legal claim.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :