Thu. Dec 5th, 2019

Soldiers Stop Protesters From Accessing State House

They planned to deliver their petition 100 meters away from state house but anti-Jane Ansah protesters have delivered it about 2 kilometers away from the state house because Malawi Defense Force soldiers and police blocked their way.
The demonstrators want Dr. Ansah to step down as chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on accusation that she mismanaged the May 21, 2019 elections.
After holding three nationwide demonstrations, organizers said their fresh target during Thursday’s demonstrations was to deliver the petition to President Peter Mutharika at the state house in Lilongwe.
They are demanding that the president who is the appointing authority fire to fire Dr. Ansah.
The protesters marched from Lilongwe Community Ground through Mchesi to city center until they were blocked by the soldiers and police at Four Seasons Gardens on the Presidential Drive that leads to state house.
Organizers of the demonstrations engaged in talks with the security officers who, among other things, said they were concerned with security of Chinese Embassy located along the Drive as some protesters were pelting missiles on buildings and damage sign posts along the road.
They finally agreed after lengthy discussion that authorities from state house come at the scene to receive the petition.
Presidential advisor on non-governmental organizations, Mabvuto Bamusi, came and received the petition that was read out by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson, Timothy Mtambo.
Mtambo said they are tired of delivering the petition and they want urgent presidential action to fire Dr. Ansah, saying they would not leave the premise without an answer from state house.
Mr. Bamusi, after receiving the petition, assured the protesters that the petition will be delivered to the president and will be responded to, urging the protesters to be calm pending response.
He asked the organizers to plead with the protesters to be peaceful as they return to their respective homes before he left to deliver the letter to state house.
The protesters waited for about an hour for a response until organizers called the protest off, saying they will give an update on the response from the state house.
The case was the same in Blantyre where soldiers barred protesters from reaching state house premises.
There were incidences of violence and looting after the demonstrations.
Rioting protesters broke into some offices in Lilongwe City Center and damaged the Japanese Embassy while in Mzuzu, protesters torched office of the governing DPP and police station, among other incidences.

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