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12 Feb 2020 | 08:22 AM UTC

Malawi: Nationwide demonstrations scheduled February 13 /update 2

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to hold nationwide demonstrations February 13; heightened security measures and transportation disruptions expected

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transportation
MWI

Event

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) opposition group has called for demonstrations on Thursday, February 13, in all major cities across Malawi to call for the resignation of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) staff. The group warned that protesters will lock down all MEC offices across the country to establish Malawians' disapproval of the Constitutional Court's decision to place the MEC in charge of the new presidential elections.

A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are anticipated near any demonstration site. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

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 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 must be held within 150 days, according to the court, though a date has not yet been announced.

Advice

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.