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HRDC, Attorney General meet at barracks

HAVE RESERVATIONS—HRDC members at a previous meeting

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders, are today, expected to meet Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale at Malawi Defence Force’s (MDF) Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe amid security concerns.

HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo and Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Pilirani Masanjala, confirmed the venue of the meeting.

“Yes, there were some negotiations because of what transpired during the previous meeting, so I can confirm that is where the meeting will take place at 10am,” Masanjala said.

The meeting failed to take place at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe last Friday following a suspected bomb scare allegedly targeting a vehicle belonging to HRDC Vice Chairperson Gift Trapence.

Mtambo said they were set to meet the AG and his team but with some pre-conditions.

“We have been corresponding since the failed meeting. We have set conditions most of which hinge on security. First of all, we made it clear that the meeting should take place at a venue of our choice under guaranteed security. This time, we wanted MDF premises because the police failed us last time. Gladly, we are meeting right at the barracks,” Mtambo said.

MDF spokesperson, Major Paul Chiphwanya, referred The Daily Times to AG adding that entities in need of MDF services ought to send their request through Malawi Police Service (MPS).

“The police are the primary institution responsible for providing security,” Chiphwanya said.

When contacted on the issue, MPS national spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said: “Matters of security cannot be discussed in the media.”

The meeting is in compliance with a Supreme Court order which gave a 14-day moratorium on mass demonstrations, asking concerned parties to discuss on how the right to demonstrate can be exercised without violence and causing damage to public and private property.

The moratorium expires on September 11 2019.

HRDC has been organising nationwide demonstrations to push for Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah’s resignation for allegedly mismanaging May 21 tripartite elections which Malawi Congress Party and UTM are challenging in court.

Mtambo complained that since the commencement of the post-elections protests in May 2019, he and his team have been receiving threats from what he called political enemies.

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