HRDC to hold vigil at Malawi Parliament

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says it will mobilise 3 million people to march and hold a three-day vigil at Parliament Building in Lilongwe to force Parliament to set a date for the 2020 presidential elections.

Speaking at a press briefing today, chairperson of the grouping Gift Trapence said the vigils will start from Wednesday, June 10 to Friday June 12.

Trapence said the aim of the demonstrations is to pressurise Parliament to set a date for fresh elections.

He added that the date should be within the 150 days (starting from 3 February, 2020) that was ordered by the Constitutional Court.

Trapence said they have organized the nationwide demonstrations because President Peter Mutharika is showing that he is not willing to let the country hold the fresh elections.

“Parliament represents people, we are only guiding them that they should prioritize the electoral laws instead of national budget, we want the fresh elections so that Malawians should choose their leader,” said Trapence.

He also said that they have realized that Mutharika is using every trick to prevent the coming fresh elections but the grouping is not going to allow that and come 3 July the seat of president will be vacant.

Trapence went on to say that another reason of the protests is that the president should act and fulfill his promises he made regarding the appointment of new commissioners.

He, however, advised parliamentarians that they should not boycott proceedings due to the demonstrations because the protests will be peaceful.

Trapence then said that they will encourage protesters to wear face masks as a way of protecting themselves from COVID-19 pandemic.

On the issue of the recorded Speech of National Assembly (SONA) by President Mutharika, Trapence said it was a mockery for the president to address the parliament in a recorded speech.

The fourth meeting of the National Assembly in the 48th session which is planned to run for seven weeks started on Friday.