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Malawians Hold Third Phase Demos

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Before leaving, Mtambo and police called on the protesters to march peacefully. Before leaving, Mtambo and police called on the protesters to march peacefully. - Pic by Happy Njalam'mano

Malawians across the country have held third phase of nationwide demonstrations aimed at forcing chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Justice Dr. Jane Ansah, to resign.

First phase was held on 20th June before holding vigils on 4th and 5th July. They are accusing Dr. Ansah of mismanaging May 21 Tripartite Elections that went in favor of President Peter Mutharika.

Chairperson of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), organizers of the demonstrations, Timothy Mtambo, led the protesters in Lilongwe from Lilongwe Community Ground to Capitol Hill.

Before leaving, Mtambo and police called on the protesters to march peacefully.

Turn-out was low at the time of departure but picked up along the way as some vehicles were used to ferry people from distant areas to participate in the protest.

Security was tightened at the Capitol Hill entry that was manned by police officers and armed soldiers of the Malawi Defense force who barred the protesters from entering into the government headquarters.

This was to avoid a repeat of June 20th protest where the situation turned violent as angry protesters forced their way into Capitol Hill premises, injuring police officers in the process.

Mtambo hailed the protesters for marching peacefully, although they started pelting missiles at security officers who manned the entry and set ablaze bush at the gate as they were leaving.

The HRDC Chairperson said they could not deliver the petition to authorities as they already did that during the previous protest.

He said they will hold vigils at all state houses across the country next week Tuesday should Dr. Ansah fail to step down.

Elsewhere, ugly scenes showed their face at Area 23 where some protesters burnt tyres and blocked roads, putting business at a halt whilst some ransacked house of a MEC commissioner, Kilion Mgawi, at Nkhoma in Lilongwe.

In Blantyre, HRDC obtained court injunction restraining city council from barring protesters from holding the demonstartions in the city's streets.

There were also incidences where some people beat up demonstrators in Blantyre, a situation that was brought to calm after MDF soldiers intervened.

In Chitipa district, protesters turned violent and set ablaze of office of labour for a reason that the district commissioner did not address them after receiving their petition.

Unlike in previous demonstrations, leaders of Malawi Congress Party and UTM, Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima respectively, did not take part in the demonstrations. 

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