By Macdonald Thom:
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said it will hold another round of demonstrations across the country on Thursday.
Last week, HRDC announced that it would be holding demonstrations every Tuesday and Thursday until Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and all commissioners resign for their alleged failure to manage the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
At a press conference in Lilongwe Monday, HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said more districts have expressed interest in participating in the demonstrations.
“Since we started holding demonstrations demanding the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Jane Ansah, we have now started receiving pressure from other districts. We want to make sure that all districts interested should make communications to relevant stakeholders. By Thursday, we should all be on the streets,” Mtambo said.
At the press conference, HRDC Vice-Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said although they were prepared for dialogue on issues bordering on the elections, their call for Ansah’s resignation was non-negotiable.
HRDC’s stance follows revelations that former president Bakili Muluzi has written Mtambo expressing his desire to mediate on post-elections issues.
Malawi Human Rights Commission has also asked HRDC to call off the demonstrations, also inviting the HRDC to a meeting.
“I have been following the turn of events in the country in the aftermath of the May 2019 elections. Given the current volatile situation in the country, your call for the resignation of the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission over the disputed electoral process and subsequent call for mass demonstrations, as a former head of state of this country, I am equally concerned about the current situation. I feel obliged and duty-bound that we find a solution to curtail the prevailing situation, initiate conversation and dialogue,” Muluzi’s letter, dated July 22 2019, reads.
In the letter, Muluzi has asked to meet the activists today.
HRDC held the first round of demonstrations on June 20. But Ansah and the commissioners did not resign, forcing the human rights activists to hold a vigil a week later.