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Demonstrations case back in court

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INSISTS ON PROTESTS—Mtambo

The Attorney General (AG) and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) are this week expected to report to court on the outcome of their talks over protests meant to force Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah to resign.

The Supreme Court of Appeal stopped HRDC leadership from organising demonstrations for 14 days, ordering the coalition and the AG’s office to hold talks to ensure security of property and lives during protests.

After the expiry of the 14-day moratorium on demonstrations, HRDC has set Wednesday, September 18, as when the demonstrations would take place.

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However, AG Kalekeni Kaphale said the parties would be seeking further direction on the matter.

“Not all the points were agreed upon [during talks between the AG’s office and HRDC]. We are approaching [the] court this week together with HRDC for further directions,” he said.

But HRDC lawyer Khwima Mchizi said they would not be seeking any directions from the court, saying the meeting is for them to report on the negotiations they have been holding.

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“We are not seeking any directions. It is a matter of procedure that, after the negotiations, we report to the court what transpired [during our meeting with the AG’s team]. The court might make some comments, yes, but that will be it,” he said.

Mchizi further said HRDC was at liberty to call for fresh protests, saying the 14-day moratorium expired.

HRDC has been organising nationwide demonstrations aimed at forcing Ansah to step down, saying the commission mismanaged the May 21 tripartite elections.

HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo said the demonstrations were on this Wednesday.

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