HRDC responds to Mutharika’s MDF decree on demos

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says President Peter Mutharika’s decree to the soldiers and police to stop post-elections demonstrations will not stop them from leading the protests.

Mutharika made the order today in Mangochi at the commissioning of Malawi Defence Force warships.

He told the gathering that the move by the HRDC to hold protests in airports and borders is treasonous and perpetrated by the UTM and Malawi Congress Party, which are apparently in court against his legitimacy.

Mutharika went ahead to say that the statement has to be on record for the organisers of the protests.

But in response, HRDC vice chairperson Gift Trapence said if Mutharika wants to declare a state of emergency, he should follow due process.

“HRDC will not sit down and watch people’s rights being curtailed. We will seek legal redress to such decrees and impunity until Jane Ansah resigns. The president should know that HRDC is non-political and is not influenced by any interests other than the best interests of Malawians,” Trapence said.

The HRDC wants Malawi Electoral Commission boss Jane Ansah out of office accusing her of favouring Mutharika to win his second term.

Previous protests have been marred by a series of violence with police in running battles with civilians forcing business operators to close business places.

It is feared that the vigils to be held at airports and borders will not only be disastrous to property owners but also to the country’s economy.

The protests are slated to start on 26 August.