Malawi: Demos in Disarray - Council Tells HRDC No State Security Ahead of Protests

Anti-Jane Ansah protests in Lilongwe.
17 September 2019

Lilongwe City Council has told anti-Jane Ansah protests organisers - Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) - that the state security agencies will not be available for the Wednesday demonstrations.

Chief executive officer for Lilongwe City Council John Chome says the security agencies will be providing security for President Peter Mutharika who is leaving the country for the United Nations (UN) general assembly in New York, US.

"... the security agencies will not be available to provide the necessary security to the demonstrators on the proposed route," says the letter in part.

Chome also reminds the HRDC of the 14-day moratorium issued by the Supreme Court of Appeal on demonstrations in order to find the common solutions to avoid violence and crime during demonstrations.

"We have been informed by the office of the Attorney General that the agreed points which were reached following the discussions with yourselves have not been presented to the court. However, the court will hear both parties on the same on 20th September, 2019," says the letter in part.

Chome therefore suggests that HRDC shifts the dates for the protests.

Meanwhile, local football giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have given Timothy Mtambo seven days to resign as HRDC chairperson.

The demand comes fas the human rights activist's has not withdraw his statement that he would lobby parliamentarians not to approve allocation of funds in the national budget to construct stadia for the two privately owned clubs.

Bullets main supporters committee secretary Mabvuto Chibambo and his Nomads counterpart Samuel Mponda warned that they would "deal" with HRDC boss.

"Should he remain adamant, then we will use our structures in the Centre and North to deal with him and HRDC," said Chibambo. He did not elaborate.

Mtambo said the supporters should stop "issuing threats" to human rights defenders, saying the issue of stepping down is "a non-starter."

President Peter Mutharika ordered government to construct stadia for the two teams during the 2019 Tripartite Elections campaign and in the 2019/20 National Budget presented in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, government has allocated K1.6 billion for the projects.

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