Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has postponed nationwide anti-Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) demonstrations that were scheduled to continue from yesterday to today. HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said they had postponed the demonstrations to focus on preparations for a Supreme Court of Appeal case in which Attorney General (AG) is challenging the coalition on security matters during the protests.
“If we did not have this court case tomorrow [today], we could have been on the streets. There is no order whatsoever stopping us from holding the demos but we think that we cannot leave people here demonstrating while we are going to Blantyre to the court,” he said.
Mtambo said he hoped that, through their appearance in the courts, HRDC would deal with the issue of the right to demonstrate once and for all.
“Everytime we want to demonstrate, we see the government and councils trying to block us. Recently, we saw even the police saying they would not protect us. We hope that we will deal with this once and for all,” he said.
HRDC had announced that this round of nationwide demonstrations would be held from Wednesday to Friday but the protest only took place on Wednesday.
HRDC and the AG are expected to appear before the Supreme Court of Appeal today to report on the outcome of the discussions which the court ordered the two parties to have in order to ensure that the protests are not marred by violence.
In a related development, HRDC distanced the coalition from the harassment of journalists Golden Matonga and Gladys Nthenda during the demonstrations which took place in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
In the statement, Mtambo describes the people who assaulted the journalists as hooligans masquerading as protesters.
HRDC has been holding demonstrations to force Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah to step down, saying the commission mismanaged May 21 tripartite elections results.