New Wave of Street Protests Over Election Date: Vigils at Parliament
Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRDC-chairperson, Gift Trapence, has today announced that the rights organizations’ umbrella body will, from Wednesday June 10 match to Parliament building in Lilongwe where they will hold vigil until parliamentarians set a date for presidential election as ordered by the courts.
Trapence told reporters in Lilongwe that the HRDC plan is to mobilize over three million people to take to the streets Wednesday in a show of displeasure at “deliberate delaying tactics by the Mutharika administration” in setting the poll date.
“Our protest is in defense of the rule of law. We expect nothing less than what the courts ordered within the stipulated period of time,” said Trapence adding that going beyond July 2 without the election shall imply that the country has no president.
The human rights body says Malawi Presidency shall fall vacant on 3 July 2020.
On his part, HRDC National Coordinator, Luke Tembo, said the “fight” at hand was now “for electoral justice.
“We know the kind of people we are dealing with. If we wait for the Ministry of Justice to take the electoral bills to parliament, it will not work out,” he said.
The HRDC is further demanding that MEC senior officials including Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, and the leadership of the ICT should step down as they were part of the mess during the 2019 presidential election as determined by the courts.
In a statement issued later, HRDC says, the planned protests and vigils will take place if parliament does not prioritize the setting of the date for the fresh election.
HRDC senior member, Reverend MacDonald Sembeleka, finds it surprising that while contracts for the previous cohort of MEC Commissioners expired on Friday, President Peter Mutharika has yet to appoint new commissioners and a chairperson.
Sembeleka says Malawi shall need to have a transitional government should the election not be held within 150 days as ordered by the Constitutional court.