HRDC suspends demonstrations

Following the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal’s order, The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has cancelled its country-wide Anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations that were slated from August 28 – 30.   

On Tuesday Evening the Supreme Court in Lilongwe issued a 14-day moratorium against demonstrations to pave way for the HRDC, the Malawi Police Service and Local Government Assemblies to discuss and agree on security modalities aimed at preventing incidents of violence and crime during the demonstrations.

HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said the coalition respects the decision of the court and highlighted that the order did not stop the demonstrations but has just given a 14-day moratorium to discuss security issues.

He further warned government to be cooperative during the negotiations between the two sides saying any attempted foul play will leave HRDC with no option but proceed with the demonstrations.

Mtambo said: “We want government to engage us in good faith but if they will not be cooperative then they will leave us with no option but to go back to the court and continue with the case and the demonstrations.”

The decision by Justice Lovemore Chikopa of the Supreme Court of Appeal, to suspend the demonstration, follows an appeal by Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale against the HRDC’s decision to hold a 3-day Anti-Jane Ansah demonstration calling for her resignation as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson.

Reads part of the court older: “Within a maximum of 14 days from the date hereof the Respondents be and are hereby restrained from organizing/convening demonstrations.”

The suspended nationwide Anti-Jane Ansah protests, were supposed to take place in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Rumphi and Karonga districts.

Recently President Peter Mutharika and the Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi also issued statements emphasizing that the Malawi defense Force and the Police will use all the necessary force to stop the HRDC demonstrations.

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