About a hundred protesters, masquerading as Lilongwe vendors, took to the streets protesting against Jane-Ansah Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) sanctioned demonstrations.
HRDC and opposition political parties Malawi Congress Party and UTM have been organizing demonstrations to force Ansah, a judge at Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, to step down as MEC chair.
The demonstrators have been violent, assaulting people but also also torching and looting shops and destroying public property. Vendors have suffered the worst damage.
Tired of being innocent victims of the demonstrations, the vendors demonstrated on Wednesday. They complained that the HRDC and opposition demonstrations are disrupting their businesses and negatively affecting their daily lives.
However, HRDC officials said it was evident from the start that the protests were organised by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has come under intense political pressure because of the post-election violence which includes the protests.
They noted that demonstration was full of DPP cadets and ruling party sympathisers who carried quite expensive placards against the Jane Ansah demonstrations which among others read;
“No politics after elections”; “Vendors say no to mademo” and “Lilongwe for business not demos”
The demonstrations were organised to detail with own security personnel apart from the 20 or so police officers who controlled the crowd.
The protesters marched from Lilongwe community centre ground to Civic offices at city centre where they presented their petition to Lilongwe city council chief executive John Chome.
They said they would be holding a vigil at the civic offices should the anti-Jane Ansah protests continue.
The HRDC demonstrations have also affected large scale, formal sector businesses. The protestors have damaged and looted banks, supermarkets and government offices.
They have also torched private houses.
Last week, 25 people whose businesses have been destroyed by the demonstrators filed a compensation claim of K524 million from HRDC.
The bill is expected to run into billions of kwacha as more victims are still making assessment of the damage they have suffered. The formal sector businesses are also yet to file their claims.
The Police Act and bye-laws of Malawi city councils stipulate that when anyone organizes or convenes demonstrations that result in destruction of public and private property and injury or death to people, they shall be held responsible for the loss or damage.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :