The High Court in Lilongwe has this Tuesday morning served a ruling by judge Kenyatta Nyirenda who had dismissed Attorney General (AG) application seeking a court order to stop the same.
Lawyer for HRDC Khwima Mchizi confirmed that after a night of suspense, the court served the ruling Tuesday morning around 6am.
Mchizi said HRDC welcomes the ruling which effectively puts their demos plan to roll out.
HRDC national chairperson Timothy Mtambo said this mean the civil society organisations (CSOs) demonstrations pushing for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah will proceed as planned.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale applied for an injunction to the High Court to restrain CSOs from holding protests or that if they hold such protest marches, the organisers should pay a deposit of K2 billion to cover damages incurred during the protests.
But in his ruling, judge Nyirenda said the court has to go by “current legal position” and dismisses Attorney General’s application with costs.
He said the status quo – for right to demonstrate peacefully – should real sin in force until a contrary decision is made in substantive matter.
The judge pointed out that Attorney General’s application “not a proper case in which to grant an interlocutory injunction on several grounds.”
He said:”As was rightly conceded by the Attorney General, the Courts have held, with an almost crusading zeal, in favour of protecting the right to demonstrate.”
The judge said the Attorney General contended that it is high time the Court re-examined the approach hitherto taken by the Courts: the right to demonstrate should not trample the other constitutional rights such as the right to economic activity, right to property but there must be a co-existence of rights, so he contended.
“To my mind, this means that until a contrary decision is made in a substantive matter, this Court has to go by the current legal position. In short, the status quo holds good,” ruled Judge Nyirenda.
Meanwhile, Mtambo said the demonstrations will only take place in the three cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu unlike in the past when almost all districts participated in the march.
He said that in Mzuzu and Blantyre, the demonstrations will only be held Tuesday while in Lilongwe they will spill over to Wednesday as the protesters will hold a two-night vigil between Parliament Building and Capital Hill.
UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, who is also the country’s immediate past vice-president, is set to take part in Blantyre protests.
Chilima is a co-petitioner in a case where they are seeking nullification of the presidential election results in the May 21 Tripartite Elections for alleged flaws, especially in the results management system.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :