Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said it would only attend former president Bakili Muluzi’s proposed meeting if President Peter Mutharika and Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah avail themselves for discussions.
Muluzi has proposed the meeting with HRDC to discuss the possibility of cancelling demonstrations in the country’s airports and border posts, scheduled for August 26 to 30 2019, to force Ansah to resign.
“HRDC’s standpoint on the dialogue proposed by Your Excellency, with us is if, indeed, it has to take place…The Head of State alongside, Justice Dr Jane Ansah, SC, and Public Affairs Committee (Pac) form part of the meeting,” reads the letter which HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo and his deputy Gift Trapence have signed.
The letter says the coalition is disappointed that Muluzi did not inform them of the outcome of his meeting with Mutharika.
“Allow us to take this opportunity to express our deepest regrets that, Your Excellency, have not kept to the spirit of our previous dialogue, which was to the effect that we will be appraised on progress made with other parties to the dialogue, His Excellency Professor Peter Mutharika and Justice Dr Jane Ansah SC. Your Excellency, the spirit of our dialogue had it that you would appraise us within seven days from the date our discussions took place,” the letter reads.
State House Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, played down the demand saying HRDC’s communication was not being made to Mutharika.
“The communication is going to the office of the former president Bakili Muluzi. We have been mentioned, yes, but the communication does not come to us. Let the communication go where it is supposed to go and, at this stage, there is nothing for us to address,” he said.
Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, also said, at this stage, there was no request or invitation for Ansah to attend any mediation or dialogue meeting.
“If the request comes, Mec Chairperson would give her response directly to the people or officials and it would be up to them to make the response public. The chairperson is exercising caution not to comment through the media on matters that are touching or having a bearing on the court case,” he said.