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DPP to celebrate win during demos week

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By Serah Makondetsa:

MCHACHA—We have freedom of association

Barely a week after Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) announced plans to stage demonstrations nationwide on June 20, governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to hold what it calls celebration week from Tuesday June 18 to Monday June 24 in all the major cities.

The CSOs, under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) announced they will hold nationwide demonstrations on June 20 2019 in a bid to force Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign for allegedly “messing up” the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

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In an interview with The Sunday Times Saturday, DPP’s Southern Region governor Charles Mchacha confirmed the development, saying the party wants to celebrate with its supporters across country.

“It is true we have victory celebration which will happen across the country. We will be marching in our roads marking celebrations for our win as a party. We met with our friends across the regions and they are also organising, as we are talking I am in a meeting and we are discussing the same issue of the march,” he said.

Commenting on the development, HRDC Vice Chairperson Gift Trapence accused DPP of attempting to bring confusion to Malawians, who want to take to the streets as a way of expressing their frustrations with the just ended polls.

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“We have not heard about the planned victory march by DPP but what I know is we were the first to seek permission from the councils to have demonstrations across the country. We know they want to bring in confusion, we just hope they will not incite violence,” he said.

However, Mchacha dismissed the sentiments by Trapence, arguing Malawi is a democratic country and everyone has the right to participate in any activities.

“We have freedom of association in the country and freedom of demonstration I really don’t think these things are the same and everyone will have a choice on what to attend. But also we have been planning this for quite some time unlike our friends so we don’t think there is any problem with the events being in same week,” Mchacha said.

In September last year, a similar incident happened when DPP organised a blue march and rallies in Blantyre on the day CSOs planned anti-government demos seeking answers from Blantyre City Council (BCC) on why the council sold the mayor’s house to DPP.

Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM are contesting the presidential election results in court and High Court Judge Charles Mkandawire ordered consolidation of the two cases, arguing they have similar arguments.

Mutharika got 1,940,709 votes representing 38.57 percent of votes cast, while Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Lazarus Chakwera amassed 1,781,740 votes representing 35.41 percent. UTM’s Saulos Chilima emerged third with 1,018,369 votes, translating into 2-.24 percent of votes counted.

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