Capital Hill, the seat of government in Lilongwe was under siege on Tuesday as scores of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its alliance partners vowed to choke government operations.
Disgruntled MCP supporters staged another demonstration to express their anger with the outcome of the just-ended May 21 elections.
The demonstrations came after another peaceful march by party supporters on Friday in the streets of Lilongwe.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Peter Mutharika was declared winner in the elections which some civil society organisations such as non-partisan Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have branded as not being credible.
Analysts also say the scar of Tippex all over the ballots, and the rush to announce the results without spending a time to study its contents suggest that the Jane Ansah led Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) did not cover itself with glory.
The MCP, Peoples Party and Freedom Party supporters matched from the MCP headquarters to the Capital Hill in peaceful protest to force all civil servants out of their offices.
The march was dubbed ‘Mutharika must fall’, apparently from the remarks party president Lazarus Chakwera said last week that “for Malawi to progress, Mutharika must fall.”
There was a stand-off at the gates of the Capital Hill as police officers manning the gates said they could only allow a few party representatives to get into the government seat.
The party faithful were chanting songs in praise of MCP president Lazarus Chakwera and demonizing Mutharika for getting the presidency through what they called the (in)famous correction fluid Tippex.
A party official speaking from the megaphone said they want everyone at Capital Hill to leave their offices because the government is illegally elected.
Police asked MCP supporters not to proceed with flushing out people at Capital Hill but the party protesters, mostly comprising youths and donning the party’s red T-shirts, were not relenting.
The group carried tree branches while chanting anti- DPP songs and heaping praise on Lazarus Chakwera as the legitimate winner of the highly contested elections.
“Let us peacefully express ourselves,” said George Zulu, Deputy campaign director for MCP.
The MCP supporters managed to power the police manning the Capital Hill gates and gate crashed into the government seat compound.
They literally seized the Capital Hill as the youth league members were in control of the gates at Capital Hill.
The MCP cadres managed to force everyone at Capital Hill out of office.
Police deployed a contingent of law enforcers to Capital Hill, which is now under lock down.
Meanwhile, MCP is seeking redress in the courts and has cited “several rigging acts” by suspected agents of the governing DPP in the results management of the May 21 Tripartite Elections as having distorted results in DPP’s favour.
In a case filed at the Lilongwe Registry of the High Court of Malawi by MCP’s lawyer Senior Counsel Titus Mvalo, identifies the country’s oldest political establishment as the 1st claimant in the case, party president and Chakwera as 2nd Claimant with electoral body MEC as the defendant.
In the affidavit, Mvalo explicitly accuses DPP members, supporters, sympathisers, officials and agents of engaging in “several rigging acts” that allegedly distorted the results in favour of DPP “against the votes and will of the people of Malawi”.
On claims of officials allegedly caught tampering with results, the lawyer mentions a returning officer in Nsanje, Fred Thomas, as having “actually [been] found tampering with result sheets”.
Mvalo also cites cases of pre-marked ballot papers allegedly stuffed in ballot boxes in Zomba, Machinga and Mangochi districts.
On incidents of tampering that saw erasing fluid being used to change figures, MCP has attached to its application copies of the results sheets that were purportedly tampered with.
The affidavit also mentions an incident in Neno District where there was “an anomaly of presidential votes being 18 000 more than the parliamentary votes cast which raises the question of how that was possible”.
The party has also cited cases of presiding officers at some polling stations in Dedza and Lilongwe districts, who allegedly denied MCP election monitors access to copies of results sheets despite the fact that the voting procedure designed by MEC required each monitor to keep a signed copy of the results.
MCP contends that Mutharika “won a fraudulent election” fraught with irregularities, including alleged stuffing of ballot papers with pre-marked ballots, tampering with election results sheets through correction fluid and being found in possession of result sheets at home.