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Mzuzu City Council asks Human Rights Defenders Coalition to shift demonstrations

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By Feston Malekezo:

James Kadadzera

Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has asked Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to consider shifting Friday’s demonstrations to accommodate Mzuzu University (Mzuni) graduation ceremony scheduled for the same day.

“We wish to advise you to consider not having the demonstrations on July 19 2019 because the date was booked by Mzuzu University for conducting graduation ceremony for their students. It is in view of the above reason that we expect HRDC not to hold the demonstration,” MCC’s letter addressed to HRDC reads.

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HRDC Northern Region Cordinator, Happy Mhango, said they were discussing the matter with council officials to work on a route rather than shifting the date of the demonstrations.

“I have received the letter but we are still discussing the issue. What I know is Mzuni authorities simply asked us to clarify on the route of the demonstrations,” he said.

Mzuni graduation is scheduled for Friday at Mzuzu Stadium. The last demonstrations in Mzuzu were marred by looting, especially of the government offices.

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On their part, Lilongwe City Council Chief Executive Officer, John Chome, said they were locked in an internal meeting yesterday and that, today, they would engage stakeholders on the way forward.

HRDC plans to deliver their petition to officials at Capital Hill in Lilongwe while, in other districts, petitions will be delivered to councils.

Blantyre City Council was not available for a comment.

Initially, the anti-Justice Jane Ansah nationwide demonstrations were scheduled for Tuesday and Friday.

The Tuesday protests were shifted to Friday to give the coalition time to serve a notice for the demonstrations to the police, who also needed time to prepare.

National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said they were ready to provide security during the demonstrations but was quick to say they were yet to be served with a copy of the notification of the demonstrations.

“We are only copied a letter of events such as these by the council. But, suffice to say, we are ready as police to provide the needed security,” he said.

This would be the third time Malawians take to the streets against the under-pressure Mec chairperson since Malawians voted in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

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