Malawi govt seeks court order to ban demos: Analysts say K2bn surety proposal ‘unconstitutional’

Malawi government has applied to the High Court for an order to ban the ongoing nationwide demonstrations to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign until the presidential election case is concluded.

Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale (back to camera) confers with former Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu & DPP deputy director of legal affairs Oscar Taulo at the High Court

The application for an injunction has been filed by Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale through the  Lilongwe registry of the High Court.

Government wants the Court to order that those who want to take to the streets for protests must first deposit a K2 billion  intended as a safeguard against rioting and property damage.

The court has set Monday, August 5 2019 as the day it is going to hear the the application as the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is set for a fresh round of protest on August 6 style ‘One million march’.

HRDC has so far organised five nationwide protests to force MEC chairperson Ansah to resign for allegedly mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

The grouping’s  lawyer, Khwima Nchizi, has confirmed the development, saying they will challenge the application to stop Malawians from exercising their constitutional right to peaceful and unarmed demonstrations.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, social and governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali said it is unfortunate to note that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government  seems not to learn from it’s past.

He pointed out that  prior  to July 20 2011 demonstrations former  President Bingu Wa Mutharika issued a similar directive stopping people from protesting the economic and democratic crisis in that any one intending to organise  demonstrators should deposit K 2 million surety.

However, this backfired as the CSOs challenged it as they proceeded to hold demonstrations.

“What this directive as well as other government attempts to block demonstrations achieved  was igniting in people anger which led to a large turnout marred with violence,” said Munthali.

He said the Attorney General and entire DPP government  must learn from the Commission of Inquiry into July 20 2011 killings which clearly recommended the Executive arm of government to avoid actions that may be viewed as blocking the citizens exercise of right to peaceful and unarmed demonstrations as these ignite anger in the people and subsequently lead to violence.

“Such attempts cannot achieve in ending demonstrations but rather addressing the issues raised by demonstrators as recommended by the Commission of Inquiry report is the one that can bring to an end to the current crisis,” said the governance commentator.

Said he: “The more the Attorney General and the DPP machinery put blocks to the exercise of right to demonstration the more they are profiling the demos to be attended by large numbers who may want to shame or challenge government
“The surety proposal by AG  is unconstitutional, and is likely to be challenged. If not careful, the executive arm of government through the Attorney General may be held accountable for indirectly  inciting violence by that surety decision if 6 August demos turn violent. It’s important that the DPP government avoids repeating same mistakes made by Bingu Wa Mutharika.”
Another commentator Idriss Ali Nasser argued that the application by the Attorney General is “mischievous” especially concerning is the “ludicrous proposition to put a prohibitive monetary cost to the enjoyment of the right to protest.”
He said: “There would be no point in having this right so enshrined if its exercise requires that we deposit billions of Kwacha first. That application is standing on quicksand. It should not survive a day in court.”

Inspector General (IG) of Police Rodney Jose last week wrote HRDC, demanding that it stops convening the protests following violent and criminal acts during the demonstrations.

Jose said the decision to stop the protests followed the unruly conduct of protesters.

“As you are aware, police officers have been attacked during these demonstrations making it extremely difficult for them to provide security to persons and property. Sadly, the situation is deteriorating with each new demonstration that HRDC convenes,” reads Jose letter to HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.

Section 105 of the Police Act (2010) provides grounds for a police officer to notify conveners of demonstrations if the police will not be able to provide security for the protests.

It reads: “(1) Where an assembly or a demonstration is to take place in compliance with the provisions of this Part, a police officer—

“(a) if he has reasonable grounds to believe that the police will not be able to provide adequate protection for the persons participating in such an assembly or a demonstration, may notify the convener and such persons accordingly and shall give them the grounds in writing.”

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kaukonde
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kaukonde

Our courts will soon regret what they are doing because they also have been targeted for violence and burning of court structures. what they organiser say is that they want to instil fear in the courts to make ruling in favour of them.

Stupid
Guest
Stupid

Why should Malawians pay to exercise their constitional righ???

2019 Boma
Guest
2019 Boma

Jane Tippex Madando Ansah is the Jezebel of Malawi similarly like what happened in the book of Kings ( Naboth Vain Yard ) pastor wonama uyu she is satanic

Agenda Setting Theory
Guest
Agenda Setting Theory

Kalekeni Kapuse

Kanyimbi
Guest
Kanyimbi

Uwu ndiye mtudzu tinaukana ndi Kamuzu tinakwiya zedi coz chomatiderera chonchi iwe Kaphale tidzipereka 2 billion kwa mbabva ngati inu? Mwakhuta ndalama zokuba eti nkuona mukuyetsetsa ndi mtundu wanu wachilhomwe wakubawu kuti musachoke m’boma ndiyetu Malawi wakukwiirani sitikupulutsani apa pokha muchoka ndithu Kamuzu tinachotsa bwa?

Ndatopa
Guest
Ndatopa

Kaphale, please don’t ruin your professional reputation. You are a respected lawyer,but getting involved in this rubbish will put feces all-over you and your reputation. As someone who knows you personally, sir, I urge you to recuse yourself in this matter. Or better yet, just resign from this government. You will have more power as a private citizen, great lawyer. This government’s days are numbered, the writing is allover!

Natty Prince
Guest
Natty Prince

Mulungu sangapatse olo kudalitsa athu akuba akupha achinyengo awa adpp Mulungu Khope yake anayang‘nitsa kumbali chifukwa chake dpp imangopanga zoyaluka uphungu wa Namalenga palibe.Tiona mmene zithere

Tariq
Guest
Tariq

Use the 4 billion you gave Ansah
Kutha nzeru uku.

Agenda Setting Theory
Guest
Agenda Setting Theory

K2billion demo.

Kapado Chimulirenji
Guest

Ndale zimamchititsa munthu wophunzira kukhala chidzete eti? The court already set precedence for demos, what magic does Kaphale have that the court could overturn earlier rulings on demos? Is it going to happen in a normal way or through bribery?