By our Reporter
Thousands of United Transformation Movement (UTM) and Congress Party (MCP) party supporters led by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) on Thursday began their vigil in the Capital Lilongwe in second round of protests to force Justice Dr Jane Ansah to resign over what they describe as electoral irregularities in 21st May presidential election.
Immediate former Vice-president Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party on leader Lazarus Chakwela have vowed that will not relent to hold peaceful demonstrations until Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Jane Ansah steps down as the overseer of the elections governing body.
Currently,the vigil is taking place in a garden between Parliament building and Bingu International Convention Centre, in front of the grave of the late former Head of State and founder of the country Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
In his speech, Chilima called upon protesters to be strong and not to be afraid, saying no one asks for permission to demonstrate.
He said they would not back down.
“Ansah must go! If she doesn’t resign in this second phase of demonostration (the first demonstrations were held on June 20) , we will go into phase three,” said Chilima who was dressed in a security armoured gear.
He condemned reported violence aimed at protestors in Blantyre where ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rough necks attacked marchers with knifes and whipping sticks.
Chilima said he will join Blantyre protesters in the next demonstrations should MEC chairperson Anah refuses to resign.
“We will not be cowed, we will not relent,” said Chilima.
He said the demonstration will remain to be peaceful and that Malawi Police Service (MPS) should arrest anybody who will be found perpetrating violence and looting people’s property.
On the other hand MCP President Lazarus Chakwera urged the protesters to remain calm until the demonstrations end tomorrow.
On his part, and HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said they have the “will, the determination, and the means to make sure your vote will count. Ansah must go.”
Ansah, who has since refused to step down, told the media recently that demonstrations organised by the CSOs are a mob justice that need not to be tolerated.
The protesters are also disparaging President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party administration, describing them as “Tipex leaders” and illegitimate.
Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera are challenging results of the presidential election claiming that they were rigged in favour of President Peter Mutharika who got 38 percent of the vote.
Results MEC announced show that Chakwera trailed Mutharika by 35 percent while Chilima, who was until May this year vice-president to Mutharika, finished third with 20 percent of the votes.
Currently, Chilima and Chakwera are in court as first and second petitioners, respectively, seeking nullification of presidential election results over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system.
A panel of five judges of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court comprising Healey Potani, Dingiswayo Madise, Ivy Kamanga, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo set July 29 as the date for hearing of the substantive case will start.
Meanwhile some group of protesters in Lilongwe broke into restaurants and Spar shop at City Center, M1 Electronics and stole a number of items.
They also blocked roads and burnt tires.
By our Reporter