Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera is flexing his political muscle by mobilising his followers to march to State House with his party announcing that it has called for a nationwide protest on Thursday March 12 to push for electoral reforms, despite new menaces from President Peter Mutharika to suppress the revolt.
Chakwera on Monday gave the government 48 hours to release the human rights activists Gift Trapence and Macdonald Sembereka arrested Sunday evening. He said if they remained in custody by Wednesday he would “personally galvanise all peace-loving and law-abiding Malawians” to march to the State House.
In his charged context, Chakwera said President Mutharika is “a temporary tenant “at the State House, official residence of the Head of State.
MCP has since informed authorities that it will hold nationwide peaceful demonstrations on Thursday.
“The party is calling well-meaning and peace-loving Malawians to join these peaceful demonstrations against the failure by the executive arm to uphold the rule of law as manifested in its apparent attack on the judiciary, blatant disregard for human rights, failure to assent to the electoral bills passed by parliament, arbitrary arrests of innocent Malawians, failure to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of crimes, broken public service delivery, corruption, among others,” reads the notice signed by MCP administrative secretary William Sulamoyo.
MCP states that President Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) can no longer purport to have the authority to govern the country “when he and his government are in breach of the social contract with Malawians which is the very basis upon which this authority to govern ought to have been assumed as provided for under section 12 of the Constitution.”
In Lilongwe, the demonstrations will start from the Lilongwe Community ground to the Kamuzu Palace. Protestors are encouraged to wear anything red or black.
Meanwhile, Chakwera, who together with UTM Party president and State vice-president Saulos Chilima, — secured the landmark judgement by the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election on February 3 2020— is accusing President Mutharika of openly instigating a crackdown on civil society leaders who were at the forefront of protests and legal action to challenge his election.
He has accused President Mutharika of failure to comply with the law; failure to keep his party matters separate from State issues and failure to respect the independence of State institutions, among others.
Chakwera said the selective and partisan application of rights is “unacceptable.”
He said by ordering the “spurious arrests” of human rights activists from a political party’s rally, Mutharika us “in breach of several provisions of the Constitution.”
According to the MCP leader, political parties are obliged to observe Section 10 (a) of the Constitution, which states that “in the resolution of political disputes, the provisions of this Constitution shall be regarded as the supreme arbiter and ultimate source of authority.”
The human rights activists were arrested barely hours after President Mutharika warned HRDC that both the police and army will use “full force” to stop them from holding demonstrations at State House.
Mutharika’s government has accused HRDC group of waging a violent, militia-style campaign together with the opposition to topple the DPP administration, a claim the rights organisation and opposition rejected.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :