Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka SC, has said government will not allow people who dismiss the May 21 2019 election results as fraudulent and demand the resignation of election commission chairwoman Jane Ansah to plunge the country into anarchy.
Msaka told parliament when he made a ministerial statement on demonstrations within a Constitution and legal framework.
His statement follows President Mutharika remarks that organisers of the protests that have gripped the country over the disputed result of a May vote wanted to turn the country into a “lawless society”.
In his statement, Msaka said the Mutharika administration shall ensure that the rule of law prevails in this country at all times.
“While others have tried to goad Government towards anarchy, the Government remains resolute in ensuring that this Nation is governed in strict adherence to its laws,” he said.
Msaka said Constitutional democracies administered in the strict adherence to the rule of law can sometimes seem inconvenient, and sometimes inefficient.
“But Madam Speaker, other methods of running a country outside the legal framework lead to chaos, anarchy and national ruin.
“Towards this rule of Law, therefore, I wish to inform the Honourable House and the Malawi nation that all Security Agencies in Malawi and all officials have been duly instructed to ensure that all our laws …, including the Penal Code, and others, are strictly enforced and strictly obeyed.”
Msaka said ordinarily, the lawful enjoyment or exercise of rights should not adversely impinge upon the enjoyment by others of their rights.
“Bringing this constitutional architecture into the present context, we must ensure that the enjoyment or exercise of the freedom to demonstrate, should not infringe upon the right of others to own property, the right to safety and security, the right to life, or the right of free movement,” he said.
Msaka pointed out that under the law in Malawi, if a demonstration leads to violence, injury, looting, theft or loss; the organizers of the demonstrations as well as the perpetrators of such mischief, are liable to the criminal offences so committed, and also in civil law to pay compensation for any injury or loss suffered during or as a result of the demonstrations.
The Justice Minister cited three pieces of legislation -The Police Act; The Riot Damages Act and Preservation of Public Security Act – that need to be understood by all those excising their right to demonstrate.
He said every participant in demonstrations should ensure that they abide by the laws, paying special attention to the ‘dos and don’ts’ .