The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal has issued a 14-day moratorium against the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) from holding any demonstrations in Malawi.
Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, Agnes Patemba confirmed about the moratorium issued by Justice Lovemore Chikopa.
The decision by Justice Chikopa follows an appeal by Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale against the HRDC after High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda refused to grant the AG an injunction against the protests.
The moratorium paves way for the HRDC, the Malawi Police Service and local government assemblies to discuss and agree on security modalities aimed at preventing property damage and personal injuries during future demonstrations .
Reads the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order: “It is hereby ordered that within a maximum of 14 days from the date hereof, the respondent be and are hereby restrained from organising/convening demonstrations.
“During the said time, the parties hereto shall hold negotiations to determine a manner in which the respondents’ exercise of their rights in Section 38 of the Constitution can be [carried out] without undue incidents of violence and crime.
“The parties hereto by themselves, their servants and on the pain of being cited for contempt of court be and are hereby restrained from making statements that are or have the potential to prejudice the due determination of these proceedings.”
The Government will use the ensuing deliberations to see how prepared the HRDC is to deploy its own marshalls or crowd controllers to avert incidents that have so far marked each and every one of their outings on the streets of Malawi.
The Attorney Generals office has since welcomed the Supreme Court order.
Earlier, HRDC had planned to hold five-day demonstrations at the country’s borders and airports starting Monday this week.