Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took its latest round of demonstrations seeking what the party calls ‘Electoral Justice’ to Lilongwe Wednesday.
The march was peaceful but disagreements arose between the DPP demonstrators and the police on where exactly to submit their petition when they reached Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC), as the security personnel wanted them to deliver their petition there.
The protestors, led by the party’s Secretary General, Grezelder Jeffrey, then resolved to deliver the petition at the Civic offices as originally scheduled and not BICC road which is near Civic offices.
Jeffrey told the security officials that they are being biased as they allow some protesters, especially from the opposition, to deliver their petitions to the council.
“You can kill me if you want. Ndidzafera chipani, ndidzafera professor Peter Mutharika. We are not afraid. Mutharika sanatengere bomali pa window [I will rather die because of the party. Mutharika did not earn the presidency using shortcuts. He was duly elected],’’ she said.
Minister of Natural Resources Bintony Kutsaira, who was also present, said he was disappointed with the men in uniform.
“Komanso kwinaku kumakhala kupanda nzeru kwa anzathu achitetezo chifukwa atati awone tayenda kuchoka komwe ku community mwa bata opanda oba katundu, mwamva kuti ena aba katundu? Ndiye kumeneko nde kupanda nzeru kwa apolisi otumidwawo. [We have been peaceful all the way and why should they deny us now?],’’ he said.
The demonstrators, thousands in number, started marching from Lilongwe Community Centre Ground to Civic Offices in City Centre where they delivered their petition.
The demos changed their route, from the initially planned Lilongwe Old Town Route and used Mchesi road after a large number of people blocked the Old Town route.
In the end, Lilongwe City Council Director of Planning, Hillary Kamera, received the petition from Jeffrey. He thanked the protesters for being peaceful.
Unlike the demonstrations that the party held in Blantyre, in Lilongwe the placards that the people carried indicated that the party is unshakable and unbeatable and that it will always win the election.
In Blantyre, the placards that the demonstrators carried indicated that DPP was not happy with the Constitutional Court judges who heard the electoral case.
Among other grievances, DPP claims that the court was misguided by declaring that presidential election should be decided on 50 percent-plus-one electoral system when no petitioner prayed for that.
Other protesters were ferried in motor vehicles.
On February 3 2020, a panel of High Court judges—Dingiswayo Madise, Healey Potani, Mike Tembo, Redson Kapindu and Ivy Kamanga—nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election results citing irregularities.
DPP started the protests in Blantyre before moving to Zomba amid condemnation from Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges Association, the Commonwealth Legal Education and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association over the party’s followers attacks on the Constitutional Court.