The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have said they are ready to meet Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale over issues surrounding the Anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations. This follows a court order that required the two sides to meet and discuss how to deal with violence during the protest.
HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said in an interview yesterday the meeting was supposed to be held on August 15 but failed to take place because Mtambo’s residence at Area 49 in Lilongwe was petrol-bombed on the scheduled day of the meeting.
He said: “We are ready to meet the officials from the AG’s office over the issues they called us for. I cannot speak more on this because our lawyer is handling it, but we are ready for tomorrow’s meeting.”
When contacted, lawyer for HRDC Khwima Mchizi confirmed the meeting, saying they are not sure if the AG will be present as he is also engaged in the ongoing elections petition case hearing in Lilongwe.
“The meeting starts at 10am. It is not only the Attorney General we are meeting, but several other officers from government, police and chief executive officers of various cities and district councils,” he said.
The office of the AG started proceedings in the High Court of Malawi challenging the legality of the demonstrations. Alongside summons, they filed an application for interlocutory injunction to restrain the demonstrators from convening protests.
The application for injunction was heard on August 5 2019 and the court dismissed the AG‘s application which made him appeal at the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal which determined the parties should hold a meeting to discuss the way forward.
A letter The Nation has vseen addressed to various government stakeholders and HRDC from the office of the AG is inviting the parties to the meeting following the court order.
Reads the letter in part: “Having partially heard both sides, Justice Chikopa directed that the parties and all stakeholders must hold a meeting to discuss ways to avoid/deal with violence during demonstrations. It is on this basis that the office of the Attorney General is inviting you to a meeting to be held at the Civic Centre in Lilongwe.”
Lawyer from the AG ‘s office Neverson Chisiza also confirmed that the meeting was on.
Meanwhile, Chancellor College-based political analyst Ernest Thindwa has warned officials from the AG’s office and government representatives to refrain from restraining the massive demonstrations but rather stick to the issues that HRDC will bring on the table.
Since May 27 this year when the MEC chairperson Ansah declared Mutharika of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winner of the presidential race in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, HRDC has been organising demonstrating demanding that Ansah resign for presiding over allegedly fraudulent elections.
Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, has dismissed calls for her to resign, saying she would only step down if the court hearing an elections petition case found her leadership to have failed to discharge its duties. The next demonstrations have been scheduled from August 26 to 30, to be followed by a “two million march” organised in the four cities of Mzuzu, Zomba, Lilongwe and Blantyre on September 5 this year