Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has given President Peter Mutharika seven days to assent to the Parliamentary and Presidential Act Amended Bill, which Parliament passed in Lilongwe on Monday.
HRDC has also told Mutharika to appoint new Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners within seven days saying the country was racing against time to hold fresh presidential election on May 19 2020.
HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, issued the ultimatums during a press briefing held in Lilongwe yesterday in Lilongwe.
Mtambo said should Mutharika fail to sign the Bills and appoint new Mec commissioners within seven days, HRDC will mobilise five million Malawians for a march dubbed Operation Shut Down State House to force him to sign the Bills into law.
“We know the President has 21 days to sign the Bills but we want him to treat this matter with urgency. At the end of seven days, we will go to State House to force him to assent to the Bills. We have no time to waste, we have few days now before we hold the fresh election,” said Mtambo who was accompanied by his deputy Gift Trapence, MacDonald Sembeleka, Desmond Mhango and Billy Mayaya.
The Bills also states that the National Assembly and Local Government authorities elected during the May 21 elections shall be dissolved on March 20 2025.
According to the laws, Mutharika has 21 days to assent to the Bills into laws.
However, Mtambo also asked Mutharika to act on the report by Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament which recommended the firing of Mec commissioners due to incompetence in handling the May 21 2019 Tripatite Elections.
Mutharika has powers as the appointing authority on the Mec Commissioners.
Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah, commissioners Mary Nkosi, Clifford Maloyi, Moffat Banda, Jean Mathanga, Linda Kunje and Elvey Mtafu appeared before Pac recently in Lilongwe.
The Constitutional Court ordered fresh presidential election within 150 days after nullifying the May 21 2019 presidential election on February 3 2020, citing massive irregularities.
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani has since dismissed HRDC ultimatum.
“As we speak there is no such a Bill before President Professor Peter Mutharika for assent consideration, as such, the HRDC utterances are frivolous and should be treated as such. Besides, HRDC, an association, should stop behaving as if they are bigger than all Malawians. As an organisation, they have no mandate whatsoever to order the President and they should not masquerade as having some,” Kalilani said while questioning whether HRDC is a legal organisation.