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MCP, UTM back demonstrations

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have backed Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), which wants to organise demonstrations from Wednesday to Friday this week.

HRDC was supposed to hold the demonstrations in the country’s ports of entry from today to Friday in a bid to force Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, to step down.

However, the High Court granted Malawi Revenue Authority, National Oil Company of Malawi and Airport Development Limited an injunction stopping HRDC from holding the planned demonstrations away from the three organisations’ actual premises.

MCP publicity secretary, Rev Maurice Munthali, encouraged their supporters to take part in the peaceful demonstrations.

“We have always said that our members are citizens of this country and they have the constitutional right to participate in these demonstrations. It is in that regard that we ask all the people to demonstrate because we are never there to frustrate their rights,” he said.

Commenting on the new law on protected places and areas and control of demonstrations, which was gazetted by Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi on August 22 2019 under Preservation of Public Security Act, Munthali said the manner in which the legislation was amended was not right.

“These regulations are subsidiary laws, so to say, and any subsidiary law cannot supersede a constitutional right. And it is our feeling that any law that is under the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi cannot be put into force and restrict people from doing what the Constitution provides for them…We are going to challenge anything that is unlawful and which is done in haste,” he said.

UTM publicity secretary, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said their members are Malawians who are equally looking for change.

“We will not stop anyone from participating in the demonstrations. Our supporters are also Malawians who happen to be affected by what is happening in the country. It is their right,” he said.

Speaking at a citizen rally in Karonga District on Saturday, HRDC leaders said they had reached a point of no return and would not relent until demands of the people, which include forcing Ansah to step down, were met.

HRDC has been organising the demonstrations since the announcement of presidential election results for the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

The grouping accuses Ansah of overseeing what they describe as a fraudulent electoral process.

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