No demos tomorrow: Protests shifted to Friday

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has shifted Tuesday’s demonstrations to Friday due to the recent arrest of its Vice Chairperson Gift Trapence.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lilongwe, Chairperson for HRDC Timothy Mtambo said they did not manage to deliver authorization letters before Friday to district city councils since they were focusing on the court case.

HRDC member addressing the media

According to Mtambo, members of the coalition went to the city councils on Friday but they were sent back which prompted them to deliver the letters on Monday.

Mtambo added that being an organization that works in accordance to the laws, they decided to shift the date from Tuesday to Friday since the city councils asked them to wait for 48 hours (two days) before holding demonstrations.

“We know that  Malawians are  understanding people, the issue of shifting days will not affect the demonstrations in any way, the issue of human rights is very important to everyone but, let us join hands and bring change to this country” he explained.

During the press briefing, Mtambo accused the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) of collecting signatures from various presiding officers regarding the results of May 21 elections.

He said the conduct is a way of misinterpreting the results as the case is still in court.

He also claimed that six presiding officers have died since the May 21 elections and called for investigations into the deaths.

“It happens that while a formal process is underway through constitutionally provided protests and citizens actions and through courts, surprisingly, there has been no official report or communication by the police as to the established cause of these mysterious deaths.

“We have seen similar tactics in the past in connection to other serious crimes such as the murder of Lule Buleya,” he said.

On the protests, the HRDC Chairperson, reminded Malawians that the demonstrations are peaceful and not meant to target businesses, individuals and organisations.

He commended Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and Malawi Police Service (MPs) for rendering tight security during previous demonstrations.

The coalition said all the districts across the country will hold the demonstrations.

In her remarks, chairperson of HRDC women chapter Dorothy Ngoma asked the general public to refrain from violence and carrying of mechete during demonstrations saying the act can cause war and chaos in the country which she condemned and wished not happen.

Ngoma therefore asked people to come in large numbers and demonstrate as a way of expressing their anger and dissatisfaction on the results of May 21.