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Malawi government looks to block planned nationwide protests by rights activists

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The Malawi government has applied to the court for an order blocking rights activists from proceeding with proposed nationwide protests set for next week, Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale said on Friday, 13 September 2019.

Activists falling under the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HDRC) banner have announced their intention to stage three-day post-election protests across the country, starting on Wednesday, 18 September 2019, to demand the resignation of Jane Ansah, chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission.

They accuse Ansah of mismanaging the 21 May polls that saw the re-election of incumbent President Peter Mutharika, a pronouncement vehemently disputed by the opposition in a court of law.

According to Kaphale, the government is dismayed with the new round of demonstrations coming on the heels of a two-week ban from the streets following another court order the attorney general obtained on behalf of the state.

The HDRC’s move has left the government with no choice but to seek another court order barring the demonstrations, the country’s top law enforcer said.

Responding to Kaphale’s statement, HRDC lawyer Chima Khwizi said his clients are legally holding the demonstrations at the end of the Supreme Court of Malawi-enforced 14-day moratorium.

The court did not order the HDRC “to never hold the protests again,” Khwizi added.



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