On Monday, May 18, the opposition civil society group the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) announced that they intend to hold nationwide protests on Thursday, May 28. The motive for the protests is to call for Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairwoman Jane Ansah and her fellow commissioners to step down ahead of the presidential election on Thursday, July 2. The MEC is being held accountable for fraudulent election results in May 2019 which ultimately led to the results being quashed and the new election being held in 2020. The HRDC has called for all Malawians to participate in the protests, despite current public gathering restrictions in place to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of any demonstrations.
Election-related demonstrations organized by opposition supporters have been held regularly since May 26, 2019, after voting irregularities were reported during the May 21 general elections. Demonstrators have been calling for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah, accusing her of mishandling the presidential elections. Additionally, protesters are increasingly discontented with President Peter Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a whole.
The Malawian Constitutional Court in Lilongwe annulled Peter Mutharika's 2019 presidential election victory on Monday, February 3, upholding an application submitted by opposition parties. A new vote will be held on Thursday, July 2.
Individuals in Malawi are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests, anticipate disruptions to transportation and business and a heightened security presence near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.