By Wezzie Gausi:
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has indicated that it will start mobilising Malawians for nationwide demonstrations beginning this Wednesday.
HRDC chairperson, Gift Trapence, said that they expect that three million people will participate in the protests which will run to next Friday and are aimed at forcing President Peter Mutharika to act swiftly and prudently on the court-ordered presidential election.
“In a democratic country, the rule of law has to be followed no matter the circumstances. In this case, the presidential election was nullified by the courts which ordered a fresh election within 150 days, so that has to be followed,” Trapence said.
HRDC executive member, Billy Mayaya, charged that if the fresh poll is not held as ordered by the court, Mutharika must be prepared to leave the seat of president.
“We are demonstrating because we want the election to happen. Parliament should fast-track the whole process as the country has waited for too long. So, we are going there with our petition and if nothing will be done, we are closing the House,” Mayaya said.
Another member of the human-rights body, McDonald Sembereka, said for a long time, Malawians have been taken for fools apparently because they seldom act when their rights at being trampled on.
Sembereka said by now, the country was supposed to have a new crop of Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners following the resignation of Jane Ansah as its chairperson and the expiry of tenures of the rest of the commissioners.
In his recorded State of Nation Address last Friday, Mutharika once again hit at the Judiciary for what he described as a miscarriage of justice in the way the courts handled the election petition case where he was eventually declared to have not been duly elected.
He also appealed to Parliament to reverse the court’s decision, but legal experts say that is not possible and that the country has no choice but to hold the fresh election.
Mutharika also warned that any attempt to remove him from his position after the expiry of the 150 days within which the courts ordered that the fresh poll should be held will be tantamount to treason.
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