MDF orders protesters to raise awareness about demo ban


Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers on Wednesday ordered people who were mobilizing residents for post-election protests in Karonga to go around town and raise awareness about the suspension of demonstrations.

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) had planned to conduct demonstrations Wednesday but on Tuesday the Supreme Court of Appeal issued a 14-day moratorium against the protests.

MDF soldiers on the streets on Wednesday

The court order forced the HRDC to postpone the demonstrations.

In Karonga on Wednesday, people gathered to start protesting but they were dispersed by MDF soldiers who were deployed on the streets to stop protests.

The Malawi army soldiers also ordered occupants of a car that was found mobilizing the residents to go around town and tell people that demonstrations have been banned for 14 days.

In Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre MDF soldiers patrolled the streets while armored vehicles were stationed in strategic points with the soldiers ready to enforce the court order.

The heavy presence of the soldiers came after the Peter Mutharika administration banned demonstrations on Monday saying no permission will be granted by authorities for post-election protests organized by the HRDC.

On Tuesday, the High Court in Lilongwe granted the HRDC an order against the decision by Minister of Information, Mark Botomani, Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi and the Inspector General of Police to ban the demonstrations.

However, later on the same day, the Supreme Court of Appeal issued the moratorium restraining the rights group from conducting demonstrations within the next 14 days.

Meanwhile, analysts say the court has only banned protests organized by the HRDC but citizens are free to conduct demonstrations.