Malawi faces more protests as Chakwera’s ultimultum to Mutharika on Al–Shabaab claims elapses: Police should be well-equipped

Malawi is facing renewed street demonstrations with main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) set to unleash its supporters back to the streets to protest against  President Peter Mutharika’s claims  that some politicians are trying to recruit mercenary militias from Al-Shabaab and the Congo war zone to create anarchy in the country.

Police provide security at Capital Hill, the seat of government

MCP leader Lazarus Chkwera asked Mutharika on Saturday  to produce evidence within 24 hours, to substantiate his claims.

President Mutharika made the allegation in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in the National Assembly on Friday, that some politicians had conspired to bomb Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on May 28 when he was being sworn in following the contested May 21 presidential elections.

Mutharika did not mention names in his Parliament’s address but said he knows the  “two political leaders”  who have tried to recruit mercenary militias “from Al-Shabaab and the Congo war zone to come and create anarchy in this country.”

However, Chakwera said  Mutharika should substantiate his allegations warning that,” if Mr. Mutharika does not publicly produce evidence of this within 24 hours, then Malawians will know that this is just another one of his tippex lies.”

Chakwera is said to organise his party supporters to get back on the streets  and protests the remarks by Mutharika.

“Whatever the case, his remarks only show how unfit he is for the presidency and how detached he is from reality. As a case in point, he even claimed, with no sense of irony, that if citizens continue to protest, they will one day find themselves being ruled by evil,” said Chakwera.

Meanwhile, Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), has also organised further  demonstrations calling for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Asah  and other commissioners to resign and pave the way for investigations into, among others, identifying and prosecuting those who supplied Tippex to be used for ‘doctoring’ election figures.

HRDC announced the development during a post-June 20 demonstrations news conference  held at the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) office in Lilongwe.

Gift Trapence, the HRDC vice-chairperson, said the group expected Ansah to resign by Friday, but she did not hence they will launch a campaign of civil disobedience.

“We think they are taking Malawians for a joke, so we will hold demonstrations on 4th and 5th July in form of vigils in 10 selected districts.

“After these vigils, if there will be no action, we will hold other vigils from 8th to 12th July, but this time in all the districts and we will continue until Ansah resigns,” said Trapence.

Opposition leaders Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Chilima, who finished second and third in the election, respectively,  who are both  challenging the election results in court, alleging irregularities said they will engage “gear two” if Ansah refuses to abdicate from the commission.

The UTM leader said Malawians should not be afraid as they are expressing their right to demonstrate.

The election was marred by allegations of fraud, including that many results sheets were altered using white correction fluid called Tippex.

Malawian political scientist Michael Jana, who teaches at the University of Witwatersrand, said: “A significant section of Malawi society is disgruntled and does not want the current government. It’s a divided country.”

The opposition  have promised to keep the demonstrations peaceful, but tensions are running high and some fear the protests could spark civil unrest.

Meanwhile, police officers are said to be asking for authorities to ensure that they are well equipped to  contain the people’s protests.

Nyasa Times understands police are having a shortage of weapons which include rubber bullets, protective gear  and tear gas canisters.

During the June 20 protests, some people in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre took the law into their own hands, stoning buildings and cars, and burning billboards and flags.

Some yobs went berserk, looting shops, breaking shop windows, burning tyres and flags of President Peter Mutharika as well as manhandling some police officers.

Property worth millions of kwacha was lost and police have said they are still assessing the damages to ascertain how much was lost, but have already arrested a few people in Mzuzu.

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Gold Ruyondo
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Gold Ruyondo

By making that statement he is planning to crack on the opposition..

Polomondo
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Polomondo

Kodi iwe Lazarus ukuganibwa bwanji? Ndimayesa nkhani ili ku khoti? Kuyambira lero sukhalanso “Chakwera’ koma ‘Chatsika’ chifukwa nzeru zako zikutsika.

Ntumbuka Mwenecho
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Ntumbuka Mwenecho

Planning further marches under the pretext of the remarks is preposterous of the fake accent ex-reverend chakwera-wakwera-joisi. Do him and his people have nothing better to do but to cause chaos. Shame on Yona Kamano Chakwera.

Gold Ruyondo
Guest
Gold Ruyondo

Shame on you.

Noxy
Guest

Mwayambo a Chakwela mukabenso mu Bata sizinakukwaneni munaba zija,nkhuku za Mayi uja ku Mchinji munabanso inthe name of Demos.Onse osowa zochita azikapanga demo imeneyo.Onse ali ndi zochita akhala akugwila ntchito yawo.Leader of Opposition now reduced to a mere demonstrator.Shame

TOSH
Guest

NO FEAR NO REGRE,T, GO KONKO PANSEWU

Smoke in the air
Guest
Smoke in the air

Its easy to spark civil unrest, but its not easy end it. In Libya the so called disgruntled people rose against Gaddafi, they killed him and today Libya is still in turmoil. In Sudan they toppled Al Bashir and the country is no longer as peaceful as it used to be. Toppling govt. from power has its own consequences. UTM/MCP supporters are on the street on one side, one can only imagine if the DPP/UDF supporters can also be pitted on the other side. My plea to leaders on both side is to exercise caution there is no winner in… Read more »

Vinjenje
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Vinjenje

Smoke in the Air,zauchitsiru

COPS
Guest
COPS

@ Smoke in the air, koma mukufuna tivomereze this illegitimate government of Tippex? Hell Nooooooo………… come what may! Mr. Kankono must FALL for Malawi to RISE!

winston msowoya
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winston msowoya

MALAWIANS,we in diaspora, are with you in the fight for our motherland which has been thrown under the BUS.iam made to believe that Muthalika and his running dogs are directly involved in this nasty corruption in the history of our unfortunate country.It is shameful for a PHD President to behave like Idd Amin of Uganda who had never entered the class loom in his life-time.The name Al Shabaab,is satanic and head of terrorist organisations per say.On the other side,it is we Malawians who vote for people like this bull dog.You had voted for Bingu Muthalika just bicause is MWANA WA… Read more »

Masuzygo
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Masuzygo

More protests for what ? Amene mulibe CHOCHITA go to the streets kuti mukadzole ma tear gas whilst trapence and his family and friends will be home having drinking tea

Ajofia
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Ajofia

Thousands upon thousand will go to the streets. Do not underestimate demonstrations. If you are doubting, go and ask Sudanese or Egyptians kkkk

YOSWA
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YOSWA

A Jimmy Phiri muziwerenga malamulo, what is inciting violence, and what are protests or demonstrations. Go and read the penal code and as well the constitution before you direct the arrest of organisers of demonstrations. Mind you the ruling party is also organising their own demonstrations, are they going to be arrested?

YOSWA
Guest
YOSWA

Tisadelele zinthu mene zikuyendera tiyeni tizikamba zomanga dziko. Look at how ALBASHIR was removed in sudan. He is a military officer but succumbed to civillian pressure and up to now theres no peace. On Alshabab allegations I think the best way Govt would have done is just to arrest the perpetrators and bring them before justice coz the mentioned groups are very dangerous if let to operate here. Ndiye when we start an issue we need to have facts otherwise Alshabab has now known that we qualify to be part of thier play ground, and they can come even without… Read more »

Vinjenje
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Vinjenje

Yoswa,that is not true.We will fight on until justice prevails.