Blantyre City Council rejects June 20 demos

… HRDC adamant protests will go on

Blantyre City Council has rejected a request by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to conduct demonstrations in the city saying the city’s streets have already been booked by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

However, the HDRC has insisted that the protests will go on in all cities in the country including in Blantyre.

In a letter which Malawi24 has seen dated June 17 and addressed to HRDC, BCC Chief Executive Officer Alfred Chanza said permission to hold protests in the city cannot be granted because streets and townships have been booked for public events from June 18 to June 24, 2019.

Malawi24 understands that the ruling DPP has booked the streets for its week-long victory celebrations.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, HRDC National Chairperson Timothy Mtambo said they are ready to conduct the protests since they booked the routes before anyone and that they are going to use all the legal proceedings to conduct the demonstrations.

He went on to say that the behavior of the city council has been the same even during previous demonstrations.

“We are surprised and we consider this as a big joke because we notified the city council earlier as well as the nation. We will use all the legal proceedings to conduct the peaceful demonstrations and we are therefore asking Malawians not to put on party colours since these demonstrations are for goodwill Malawians,” Mtambo said.

He also urged Malawians to come out in large numbers and demonstrate on Thursday without fear.

The demonstrations will be held under theme ‘Restoring our destiny in Electroral Justice.’ They will be conducted in Mzuzu, Blantyre, Zomba and Lilongwe.

The protests are aimed at forcing Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Dr Jane Ansah to resign following irregularities in the May 21 elections. The organisations say the outcome of the polls was affected by the use of tipp-ex to doctor result sheets.