Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leaders yesterday delivered a petition to Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani-Hara at Parliament Building in Lilongwe.
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo presented the petition to the Speaker through Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislator Richard Chimwendo Banda, whose party is also the second petitioner in the ongoing elections case in the Constitutional Court.
Mtambo told protesters that HRDC resorted to petition the National Assembly Speaker because Ansah has been adamant on their many calls for her to resign as MEC chairperson for allegedly presiding over flawed presidential elections.
He said: “We have made several calls for Ansah to resign, but she is not resigning. So, we are presenting a petition today believing that Parliament will intervene on the matter. I urge members to discuss matters in the petition without considering their political affiliations.”
In the petition, HRDC is requesting legislators to present the motion that will be aimed at removing Ansah and her team of commissioners for allegedly manipulating presidential elections results.
Other issues raised in the petition include bringing back to Parliament Electoral Reforms Bill which was shot down in the House last year as well as requesting parliamentarians not to confirm the Acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa.
In an interview, Chimwendo Banda assured HRDC that he will deliver the petition to the Speaker for her action.
He said: “I want to confirm that I have received the petition on behalf of the Speaker. I hope the Business Committee will ensure that the petition is read in the House soon because it is clear that issues which have been presented in it are pertinent.”
The demonstrations, which were monitored by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers, began peacefully at Lilongwe Community Ground. But they were later marred by a few ugly scenes midway to Capital Hill.
Protesters assaulted a journalist Gladys Nthenda and snatched her smartphone. She was rescued by MDF soldiers.
A Nation Publications Limited (NPL) journalist Golden Matonga was also attacked while he was taking photographs. His phone was also stolen.
It later transpired that the two were attacked after the protesters mistook them for governing Democratic Progressive Party cadets.
Parliament later suspended cluster committees’ business due to uncertainty of the demonstrations, as previous ones have ended with violence and destruction of public and private property.