Malawi Congress Party (MCP) supporters in the lakeshore district of Karonga have been denied their democratic right to peacefully march over the just released presidential election results.
On May 24, the MCP district chairperson James Nkhoma wrote the District Commissioner Emmanuel Bulukutu to ask for permission for the party supporters to conduct peaceful demonstrations in the district in solidarity with their fellow supporters in Lilongwe against the Presidential results which they feel were ‘stolen’ from their party presidential torchbearer Lazarus Chakwera.
But in a letter addressed to Nkhoma dated May 28, Bulukutu who during the May 21 tripartite elections was the district’s elections coordinator (DEC), without giving reasons, rejected the party’s request.
“Following your request to hold demonstrations around Karonga Town, you are hereby informed that your request has been rejected.
“By copy of this letter, the police are also being informed of the same,” reads the letter.
However, in an interview Nkhoma described the situation as unfortunate, saying in a democracy, citizens are free to hold peaceful demonstrations as that is their constitutional right.
Nkhoma, could however, not say their next course of action following the negative response from the DC’s office.
In a separate interview, a University of Livingstonia political commentator, George Phiri faulted the District Commissioner for rejecting the MCP supporters of their constitutional right, saying what Bulukutu did is a threat to democracy.
“As a duty bearer, the DC ought to understand the constitution better than anyone else. Therefore, he has no powers whatsoever to deny party supporters or any other person their right to demonstrate peacefully.
“In fact, that is against the law and those whose rights were violated can challenge that in a competent court of law,” Phiri said.