The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said it will proceed as planned with mass protests pushing for the resignations of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah despite Attorney General seeking a court order to stop the same.
HRDC national chairperson Timothy Mtambo told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that their position remains that if Ansah, who is accused of presiding over a flawed electoral process in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, does not resign, they will take to the streets again.
He said the fresh rounds of demonstrations will take place on Tuesday August 6 and Wednesday SAugust 7 2019 in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu.
Mtambo said the demonstration will spill over to Wednesday in Lilongwe where they will hold a two-night vigil between Parliament Building and Capital Hill but in Mzuzu and Blantyre it will only be held on Tuesday.
But the High Court in Lilongwe is expected on Monday to rule on an application by Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale asking the court to order against the mega demos or that if they hold such protest marches, the organisers should pay a deposit of K2 billion to cover damages incurred during the protests.
Mtambo said HRDC will not pay anything as demanded because it is unconstitutional.
“These are enemies of progress who would want to stop Malawians from exercising their right to demonstrate,” said Mtambo.
He stressed that it is the constitutional right for all Malawians to express dissatisfaction.
Commenting on the K2 billion surety, HRDC’s Solomon Phiri faulted Attorney General for attempts to curtail people’s rights.
“We are in the streets because it it our constitutional right. The issues that are in court are different from what we are demanding. There is no need to attach some monetary aspect to the demonstrations and the constitutional right does not require people to pay surety when they demonstrate,” he said.
HRDC plans to mobilise a million demonstrators to participate in the cities for Tuesday and Wednesday marches in a bid to force Ansah and her commissioners to reign.
Malawi Law Society recently asked Ansah to “deeply reflect” on her holding on to MEC post when the country continue to be torn apart.
Ansah spoke once and said she would not resign as demanded by HRDC as that would be tantamount to pandering to the whims of a mob and that she too is waiting for the election case at the Constitution Court that UTM leader Saulos Chilima and MCP president Lazarus Chakwera have filed asking for the nullification of election results.
Commentator George Kasakula writing in his ‘Hitting the Nail’ column published in Malawi News, pointed out that Ansah must ask herself of it is worth it not to resign just because she thinks she is right and waiting for the court case.
“What will it take for her to resign? After all, she will still be Supreme Court justice. This arrogance is tearing the country apart. We all know she is a Supreme Court justice and well versed in arguing her case but her action in staying put at Mec is holding the country to ransom,” wrote Kasakula.
Kasakula, who is also Editor-In-Chief of the Times Media, said Ansah’s position at MEC is untenable “as none on the opposition side will participate in an election where she is chair of MEC as they have lost confidence in her.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :