Malawi: Rastafarian Community Bemoan Violence in HRDC Demonstrations

10 December 2019

The Rastafarian community in Malawi says violent incidences that characterised what were termed as peaceful demonstrations organised by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) should be condemned at all costs.

Since results of the May 21, 2019 Presidential elections were released by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), HRDC has been organising a series of demonstrations to force MEC Chairperson, Jane Ansah to resign for allegedly presiding over an election that was marred by irregularities.

But despite HRDC calling for peaceful demonstrations, the protests have often been marred by violent scenes in which millions of Kwacha worth of public and private property has been lost.

Speaking in an interview, Head of the Nyabhingi House of Malawi, Ras Ray Harawa said the Rastafarian community is not against any form of demonstrations but rather they discourage violence which happens whenever the protests are called on.

He says, Rastafari, as a peaceful religion always encourages peaceful coexistence among people despite having different political ideologies.

"Get us clear here, we acknowledge the constitutional right to demonstrate whenever there are some issues that some quarters of the society feel are not going on well.

"However, we are worried with the persistent occurrence of violence almost in all these protests. I ask fellow Malawians to desist from any form of violence whenever demonstrations are taking place in the country," said Harawa.

Harawa who is also an International Consultant for the Nyabhingi House of Jamaica responsible for Southern and Eastern Africa said Malawi is one nation and there is always need to have an amicable resolution that should end differences.

"It is no secret that we are having a very serious impasse in the country, so we are urging all Malawians of good will to put Malawi first.

"I ask fellow Malawians who are poor like me not to be used by politicians in this impasse.

"There are a lot of things happening now, and I just plead with fellow citizens to turn away any politician who wants to use them in this impasse.

"I tell you, once the politicians get what they want from this political stalemate, they will abandon you," warned Harawa.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, HRDC Vice- Chairperson, Gift Trapence urged Malawians to take part in civil activities like demonstrations whenever they see some things going wrong.

He said the coalition will still continue pushing for the resignation of MEC Chairperson, Jane Ansah, till she resigns from her post.

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