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HRDC insists on demonstrations

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By Faith Kadzanja:

Gift Trapence

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said they would continue organising demonstrations until Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, resigns.

HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said the next round of demonstrations— dubbed ‘1 million demonstrations—would take place on August 6 2019 in Mzuzu, Blantyre and Lilongwe.

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Addressing members of the press in Lilongwe Monday, Mtambo said whether the Inspector General (IG) of Malawi Police Service (MPS), Rodney Jose, wants it or not, the demonstrations would continue.

Jose hosted a press briefing in the morning Monday asking HRDC to stop the protests arguing that MPS does not have the capacity to protect the public twice a week.

Mtambo, during the press conference, said the country works under the authority of the Republic of Malawi Constitution and not the Police Act which Jose referred to.

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“The IG has no power to stop people from demonstrating. So whether he wants to suppress our right to demonstrate or not, we will continue demonstrating. The IG could have rather written a letter to the Commander-in-Chief [President Peter Mutharika] telling him that they do not have the capacity and not to us,” Mtambo said.

HRDC Vice- Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said it would even be better for the IG to retire, arguing he was failing to handle things.

But Jose said the mandate of his recruitment lies with the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament.

Taking turns in addressing members of the press, HRDC members also condemned First Lady Gertrude Mutharika for allegedly spending a lot of money on a trip to the United Kingdom to attend her son’s graduation.

Earlier, HRDC said the demonstrations would be held twice a week.

But the human rights body said it wanted to fully prepare for the next demonstrations scheduled for August 6 2019.

Jose, in his speech, said if HRDC would not stop the demonstrations, the police would see what next to do.

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