Malawi’s Constitutional Court is scheduled to rule on petitions filed by the United Transformation Movement (UTM) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) opposition parties to challenge the results of the May 21 general elections on Wednesday, June 10. The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has also filed an object calling for the court to dismiss the UTM and MCP petitions. Associated protests by opposition supporters are possible in Lilongwe following the court’s ruling. A heightened presence and localized traffic disruptions are likely in the area. Police officers may use force, including tear gas, to disperse crowds that gather near the courthouse.
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) announced protest marches for Thursday, June 20, across Malawi. Demonstrations will be held in Lilongwe (Central region), Blantyre (Southern region), Zomba (Southern region), and Mzuzu (Northern region) to demand the resignation of Jane Ansah, the head of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). In Lilongwe, demonstrations will begin at the Community Ground near Mchesi and proceed through Mchesi past Kamuzu Central Hospital and end near the Parliament building. Protests in Blantyre will begin at Kamuzu Stadium and end at the city council offices nearby. In Zomba, demonstrations will begin at the Community Ground near Mponda Primary School and proceed to the Zomba District Council offices. Associated protests are possible in other cities. Protesters in Mzuzu will march from Katoto to the city offices near the Mzuzu High Court.
Election-related demonstrations have been held since May 26 after voting irregularities were reported during the May 21 general elections. Police forcibly dispersed protesters on June 6, resulting in several injuries. Security forces also fired tear gas into crowds gathered outside of the MCP headquarters in the capital when the party’s leader was meeting with the US ambassador.
Individuals in Malawi, particularly in the abovementioned cities, are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, and avoid all protests and public gatherings.
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