LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Inspector General of Malawi police Rodney Jose on Friday confessed to the nation that the law enforcers have failed to contain protesters in the on going anti-Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah demonstration.
The police chief said both service and demos organisers have failed to protect lives and property of people when the protests turn violent.
The IG Jose has therefore told Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to suspend demonstrations.
In a letter dated July 26, 2019 to HRDC, Jose also says the rights activists have as well failed to hold peaceful demonstrations.
“In view of the above, the Malawi Police Service, in exercise of its powers under section 105(1) of the police Act, demands that HRDC should forthwith stop convening demonstrations until such a time when it would be possible to convene and hold demonstrations.
“You are also required to convey this demand to members of the HRDC at all levels,” says Jose.
The letter says the HRDC sanctioned protests have been convened as peaceful; however, in all cases, Jose says, they have turned to be violent and have resulted injury to persons, extensive damage to property and looting.
“As you are aware, police officers have been attacked during these demonstrations making it extremely difficult for them to provide security to persons and property,” says the letter in part.
The police chief says the situation has been deteriorating with each new demonstration that HRDC convenes.
“It is thus evident that your organization is no longer able to convene peaceful demonstrations. On our part, we are unable to provide adequate protection for the people participating in these demonstrations and those affected by the same due to, among others, the hostile attitude of demonstrators towards police officers and criminal elements that have hijacked the said demonstrations,” says Jose in the letter addressed to HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.
HRDC is yet to respond to the letter but the Republican Constitution provides right to peaceful protests and mandates the police to provide security for lives of people and their property.
Mtmabo said if Ansah, who is accused of presiding over a flawed electoral process in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, did not resign, they will take to the streets again next week.
The demos organizers have vowed to continue with demos if Ansah refuses to resign.
They have indicated that will intensify the protests to twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, until she steps down or is sacked by President Mutharika.