HRDC to hold vigils at parliament

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) will start holding vigils at Parliament building in Lilongwe from February 19, 2020 to force legislatures to pass all electoral reform bills.

Speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday, HRDC chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said the rights group will leave the August house premises only if their demands are adhered to.

Ntambo said: “We have been informed that the team which was working on electoral laws in response to the judgement that the constitutional court gave is done with its job and we are told that tomorrow the electoral laws are going to be subjected to a vote so we are calling upon the citizens to go to parliament to force parliamentarians to pass the laws.”

He further expressed his loss of confidence in the parliamentarians citing that in 2018 Malawians were “slapped in the face” by the same members when they rejected the electoral reforms due to their selfishness.

The five-judge panel of the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe, which nullified the May 21 presidential election results on 3 February, tasked Parliament to facilitate the review of the electoral laws including 50+1 provision in choosing the country’s President.

In another development, parliament was suspended and eventually adjourned early on Tuesday afternoon following the appearance of the HRDC members in the visitor’s gallery.

Things turned sour when members from the government side demanded that HRDC members should be sent out of the August house alluding to security concerns.

Following the controversy, Speaker of the House, Catherine Gotani Hara, adjourned the proceedings.

Reacting to the development, HRDC Vice Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said they were in the House as citizens of the country and not sources of confusion.

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