HRDC should tread carefully on demos: Nation Comment

Written by  The Nation newspaper, Malawi.

During a citizen assembly on Salima on Sunday, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders pledged to commit the New Year 2020 to mass protests demanding the removal of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah and her team for presiding over an alleged flawed electoral process in the May 21 tripartite elections.

Unprecedented: Even the "Black Maria" was torched during one of HRDC's organised demos seeking MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign. Unprecedented: Even the "Black Maria" was torched during one of HRDC's organised demos seeking MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah to resign.

Besides the so-called “Ansah Must fall’ protests, HRDC also wants to push for action against suspected police officers who perpetrated sexual violence against women and girls at M’bwatalika and Mpingu trading centres along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road.


The protests are mostly set for the month of January 2020.

While HRDC is within its legal limits as provided in the Constitution to hold peaceful demonstrations to express its point of view on any issue it feels authorities need to address, we note that the timing for the proposed protests coincides with the 45-day period the Constitutional Court set to deliver its judgement in the presidential elections nullification petition.

In the run up to the judgement day for the landmark elections case, several organisations, including National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust, Public affairs Committee (Pac), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and indeed political parties are sensitizing the masses to the need to accept that the court decision could go either way; hence they should accept it and be peaceful.

It is a fact that tension is high in the country, especially in the aftermath of the elections. Thus, it is important that influential groups such as HRDC should be seen to be working towards ensuring sustenance of peace and easing tension.

Experience from previous demonstrations showed that some turned ugly and innocent people and businesses lost their property.

It is in this regard that we appeal to HRDC to utilize its platform to join efforts of others in preparing the masses for the judgement. While demonstrations are constitutional, the coalition would lose nothing in deferring the same to a later date when there will be certainty.

We implore on HRDC to tread carefully if it is to proceed with its planned protests.—Source: The Nation Comment, Tuesday, 31st December 2019.

Get Your Newsletter