It has emerged that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has no plans for victory parades in the Northern, Central and Eastern regions.
Interviews with DPP officials and city councils have revealed that the parades were only booked in Blantyre where Blantyre City Council initially gave preference to DPP and barred civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) who requested to stage a march on June 20 to push Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign for allegedly mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
While DPP regional governor (South) Charles Mchacha said the party would organise the parades nationwide from June 18 to 24, a move widely seen as having the potential to clash with the CSOs, Lilongwe and Mzuzu city councils indicated they only had requests for June 20 marches from HRDC.
DPP leaders in the North and Centre as well party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi also said yesterday that they will not be holding the parades ‘now’ to celebrate victory in the elections.
DPP regional governor (North) Kenneth Sanga, in an interview yesterday, said the victory parades in Mzuzu would be held at a later date.
He said: “We are not doing that now.”
However, Sanga could not indicate when the region will undertake the exercise.
In the Central Region, DPP vice-president Uladi Mussa said he needed to consult before responding to the query.
There was no response from DPP vice-president (Eastern Region), Bright Msaka when contacted for several times while his regional governor Julius Paipi could not be reached on his mobile phone.
However, Dausi said the party will hold the victory parades as announced by Mchacha in all the country’s 28 districts. He said the programme was being finalised.
“For now, we are still working on the programme, but tomorrow morning [Wednesday] I should be able to tell you the whole programme,” he said.
In Lilongwe, the city council’s chief executive officer John Chome wrote HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo yesterday advising the organisers to, among others, provide 100 marshals who will put on reflectors for ease of identification.
The letter followed a meeting between the council, organisers and police on Monday where they agreed that demonstrations will begun from Lilongwe Community Centre ground, through Mchesi road, Kamuzu Central Hospital Roundabout to Capital Hill main-gate where the petition will be delivered.
The council has given HRDC between 8am and 2pm for the demonstrations and thereafter the protester to disperse to their respective homes.
In Mzuzu, both Mzuzu City Council spokesperson McDonald Gondwe and HRDC chairperson (North) Happy Mhango confirmed holding a meeting on Monday where they agreed on the modalities.
Said Gondwe: “The only issue we discussed at length was the starting point for the demonstration. We will start Katoto Secondary School because Form Four students will be writing exams. But we were assured that the demonstrators will behave and all is on track.”
Mhango said they assured the council that HRDC respects the right to education and would in no way try to destabilise the process of examinations.