The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has given President Peter Mutharika five hours to fire Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah.
HRDC national chairperson Timothy Mtambo said if Ansah, who is accused of presiding over a flawed electoral process in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, did not resign by 7pm yesterday, they will take to the streets again.
He spoke at the end of the demonstration in Lilongwe, which was attended by immediate past vice-president Saulos Chilima who is also UTM Party president, after presenting a petition to presidential adviser on civil society organisations Mavuto Bamusi.
Mtambo accused the police of misinforming the President that their demonstrations were violent, a development that forced Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to move in and block the protesters at the Chinese Embassy, about 2.5 kilometres from Kamuzu Palace, Mutharika’s official residence.
He said: “The court ordered us that we should give the petition within 100 metres, but they have decided not to obey the order. What they should know is that Malawians are not stupid and if they don’t respond as requested, when people come out, we are not going to control them to go back.”
Speaking after receiving the petition, Bamusi pledged to personally deliver it to the President.
He also asked HRDC leaders, especially Mtambo, to expect a phone call from him on the way forward.
When the march started at Lilongwe Community Centre ground, HRDC stressed that they wanted Ansah to resign or be fired. The HRDC leaders also demanded that First Lady Gertrude Mutharika should return the estimated K30 million spent on her aides on a personal trip to her son’s graduation in the United Kingdom.
UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati and Malawi Congress Party legislators Ken Kandodo and Khumbize Chiponda walked with the marchers from start to finish while Chilima ended his march at Kamuzu Central Hospital Roundabout. He said he was travelling to Blantyre.
In his remarks, Chilima advised the people not to loot or break people’s property.
He said: “Please, we are all angry, but let me advise that we keep our calm and refrain from destroying people’s property. Let us march peacefully until Ansah resigns or is fired.”