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Mutharika directs Army, Police to clamp down on HRDC demos

Written by  MBC Online

Malawian President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika on Wednesday directed the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and the Police to clamp down on next week’s planned demos by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), saying the demonstrators should not say they were not warned.

Malawi's Commander-In-Chief Mutharika confers with MDF Commander General Vincent Nundwe at the commissioning of military warships. Picture by Abel Ikiloni, MANA. Malawi's Commander-In-Chief Mutharika confers with MDF Commander General Vincent Nundwe at the commissioning of military warships. Picture by Abel Ikiloni, MANA.
22
August

“As President of this country and Commander-In-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force, one of my fundamental responsibilities is to safeguard the territorial integrity and political independence of our beloved country. Without borders, there is no Malawi,” Mutharika said when he commissioned several MDF warships at the Marine Unit of the MDF at Monkey bay in Mangochi.

 


The HRDC had planned to hold demos at boarders and airports from August 26-30 in order to force the resignation of MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah for mismanaging the presidential results of the May 21 vote.


Mutharika accused MCP leader Lazrus Chakwera and UTM president Saulos Chilima of attempting to stag a coup for backing the HRDC demos.

 

Ansah, who has come under intense pressure to resign from HRDC and opposition parties MCP and UTM, insists she won’t resign until the determination of the constitutional court currently sitting in Lilongwe and hearing petitions of the two opposition parties seeking nullification of the results.

 

Mutharika, known for his calmness in the face of crises, said previous HRDC demos have been unlawful and were characterized with looting, attacks on people and destruction and torching of vehicles, private and public property including health centres and police units.


“Demonstrations are a right but what we are seeing is thievery and burning of infrastructure, including government properties. This is the sole reason we are not entertaining the demos.”

 

He said peace was one of the country’s precious assets which need to be jealously guarded.

 

There are growing fears that the demos at borders and airports could paralyse transport and international business, with millions of kwachas lost everyday in transactions.

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