CSOs to hold two-day vigil
Will camp at Capital Hill
By Faith Kadzanja:
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said after the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations scheduled for Tuesday, protestors will hold a two-day vigil at Capital Hill from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Speaking to the press in Lilongwe Sunday, HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said the coalition will not hold vigils on Thursday because on the day, the court will start hearing the elections case.
“Let me emphasise that demonstrations are on this Tuesday [Tomorrow]. We know the Constitutional Court will start [hearing the elections case] on Thursday so we want our courts to do their job and we are advising Malawians to stay away on Thursday.
“Malawians should believe in us as we are not going to be intimidated by anyone,” he said.
The demonstrations dubbed ‘1 million demos’ will be held in Mzuzu, Zomba, Lilongwe and Blantyre but the vigil will be held in Lilongwe only.
Last week, Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale applied for an injunction to stop civil society organisations from organising demonstrations that are aimed at forcing Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign.
In the application, the AG argues that the demonstrations may affect the elections court case in which Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM president Saulos Chilima want the May 21 presidential election results nullified.
Among others, the AG wants the court to impose a K2 billion surety for any grouping that wants to organise or hold elections.
“Human rights defenders should no longer continue to hold further demonstrations until they first of all make good the losses so far inflicted on innocent citizens and businesses.
“Until they provide adequate financial security that covers the losses and damage inflicted so far, demonstrations are prejudging the court case or are aimed at influencing the court…” reads the application in part.
However, HRDC’s Solomon Phiri faulted the AG’s move to attach a monetary requirement to citizens’ right to express their dissatisfaction.
“We are in the streets because it is our constitutional right. The issues that are in court are different from what we are demanding. There is no need to attach some monetary aspect to the demonstrations and the constitutional right does not require people to pay surety when they demonstrate,” he said.