Malawi: PAC Endorses CSOs June 20 Mass Protests Over Ansah Resignation

Quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has fully endorsed Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) June 20 organised peaceful protests to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and other commissioners to resign.

Fr Mulomole: Peaceful protests a Constitutional right

The civil rights organisations, under the banner, HRDC wantAnsah to quit her position at the pollster over her handling of the May 21 elections, saying they were marred with irregularities.

PAC spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole said it is the constitutional right to show anger through peaceful demonstrations.

"As PAC, we do not see any problem in taking to the streets in peaceful protests. There is nothing wrong for the CSOs to hold peaceful demonstrations," said Mulomole.

Mulomole said just as PAC endorsed the decision by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM to go to court over the vote manipulation election case, his organization has no problem in people holding peaceful protests.

Some quarters have said the June 20 slated peaceful protests are pre-mature, saying the CSOs could have waited for the outcome of the court case.

HRDC's plans for protrsts comes after UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, who is the country's immediate past vice-president, added his voice to calls for the immediate resignation of Ansah on Friday for allegedly failing the nation.

Chilima, who finished third with slightly over one million votes, said his party has gathered evidence of misconduct by the head of the electoral body.

"We have gathered evidence of widespread misconduct of the agents of the declared winner, MEC's officers, security personnel and others. This is the evidence we shall be taking to court for the court's intervention.

"Beyond the above-mentioned evidence, we have gathered evidence of misconduct on the part of the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission which shall be shared with the commission privately," Chilima told a news conference.

Governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali said the Constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate anytime provided the right procedures are followed but advised that the demonstrations should have waited for the court's decision since the courts are already handling it.

In Lilongwe, HRDC plans the demonstrations to start from Lilongwe Community Centre ground through Mchesi-Kamuzu Central Hospital-Parliament to Civic Offices while in Blantyre, the planned route is from Kamuzu Stadium upper ground through Masauko Chipembere Highway to the Blantyre district commissioner's office.

In Mzuzu, the demonstration is scheduled to start from Katoto via Mzuzu Clock Tower to the Mzuzu City Council Civic Offices and in Zomba from the community ground through Mponda Primary School ground to Zomba District Council offices.

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