HRDC postpones State House shutdown demos


The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has postponed the March 25 demonstrations which were aimed at shutting down state residences.

HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said this during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

Mtambo said the shifting of the nationwide demonstrations is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have not cancelled the planned demonstrations, we are only postponing the date because being human rights defenders we are supposed to be at forefront protecting people’s right to health as such we will not be in the streets tomorrow regarding the issue of Coronavirus after President Peter Mutharika declared that group gatherings have to stop,” he explained.

He then called on the government to decongest prisons saying inmates live in crowded places and are at high risk since the coronavirus can spread quickly in prisons.

On the recent arrest of HRDC leaders, Mtambo said it was a way of intimidating them from proceeding with the nationwide demonstrations but the act only encouraged the grouping to move forward and come up with massive demonstrations without fear.

He went on to say that they have been receiving threats from President Peter Mutharika, Minister of Information Mark Botomani and DPP General Secretary Grezeldar Jeffrey but they will never lose faith.

On the issue of forcing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah over the 2019 elections, Mtambo said they will not allow Ansah and other commissioners to manage the 2020 fresh polls even though the Ansah-led commission has already started implementing activities for the polls.