The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says the planned protests to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign will take two forms across 18 districts.
A statement issued on Monday, signed by HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo, states that the protesters will hold vigils in Blantyre and Lilongwe cities while in Mzuzu and Zomba cities and in 14 other districts, the protests will take the form of street demonstrations that will start on July 4 and finish on July 5.
The statement says the other districts include Ntchisi, Kasungu, Dedza, Salima, Mchinji, Dowa, Karonga, Rumphi, Nsanje, Chikwawa and Mangochi.
Mtambo said in an interview on Monday the organisers were in the process of notifying authorities about their intention to stage protests in the targeted councils.
He said: “Our plan is to conduct vigils full time in Blantyre and Lilongwe for strategic reasons. In Blantyre it is where MEC offices are situated and that is where we will camp. We will also hold vigils in Lilongwe which is the seat of the government.”
Mtambo said the protesters will converge in all places at 8am on Thursday where they will start with street demonstrations towards their designated places where they will present petitions except for Blantyre and Lilongwe where the marchers will proceed to conduct vigils.
HRDC in its statement says demonstrators in Blantyre will start marching from Old Town Hall through Victoria Avenue and Glyn Jones Road to conduct vigils at the MEC headquarters.
The protests in the rest of the districts are expected to be held only on July 4 but in Blantyre and Lilongwe, protesters will stay overnight and disperse at close of business on July 5, according to Mtambo.
While in Lilongwe protesters are expected to converge at Winners Chapel Mchesi where they will start their journey through Kamuzu Central Hospital to occupy the space between Parliament Building and Capital Hill for their vigil.
This is the second time that HRDC is protesting against the MEC chairperson and her executive management whom it accuses of poor administration of the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections in which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Peter Mutharika was declared winner.
Ansah last week said she would not step down but wait for a court determination.
During the last demonstrations held on June 20, police in Blantyre and Mzuzu used tear gas to disperse crowds, some of whom looted in the two cities.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party, both of whom have endorsed the demonstrations, are contesting the presidential election results in court where they applied for nullification of the polls.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera in a telephone interview said those that cannot demonstrate peacefully should avoid joining the protesters.
He said: “At no point have the police fired tear gas when people are orderly.” Kadadzera said the police have the capacity for crowd control for the demonstrations.