CSOs protests on tomorrow, demonstrators to carry own food

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating under the banner Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) say all is set to hold demonstrations in 11 districts of the country. But they say vigils will be held in Lilongwe only.

HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said in an interview yesterday that Lilongwe alone will have demonstrations and vigils tomorrow and Friday. But protesters will take their own food to eat during vigils.

Protesters during the June 20 demonstrations

He said they will not relent to hold vigils until Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Jane Ansah steps down as the overseer of the elections governing body.

According to him, final meetings are currently taking place in all selected districts of three administrative regions and that police have already assured them of maximum security throughout demonstrations and vigil period.

Tomorrow’s demonstrations are following the  one which was held two weeks ago with the same objective of forcing Ansah to resign for allegedly mishandling the May 21 polls results.

In the northern region, demonstrations will be conducted in Karonga, Rumphi, Mzimba and Mzuzu city while in the central region they will be held in Lilongwe, Salima, Mchinji and Kasungu.

In the Southern region, where president Mutharika scooped over half of the votes, protests will be conducted in Mangochi, Zomba and Blantyre.

But commenting on the strategies made to ensure protesters are placed in an environment with sanitary facilities, Trapence said they are putting everything together to ensure that protesters are put in an environment having sanitary facilities available.

“We are working towards ensuring that those demonstrators are kept in good environment. But in terms of food everybody will be doing that voluntarily and they will need to bring their own food.”

However, he appealed to Malawi Police Service (MPS) to arrest anybody who will be found perpetrating violence and looting people’s property.

Ansah, who has since refused to step down, told the media recently that demonstrations organised by the CSOs are a mob justice that need not to be tolerated.

In an earlier interview, police spokesperson James Kadadzera said the law enforcing agency will always provide maximum security to peaceful demonstrators and that it will also move swiftly to protect people’s property whenever there will be violence.

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