Leaders of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and other civil society groups have decided to postpone protests originally scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, to Tuesday, August 6. Rallies are being organized in Mzuz City, the capital Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Zomba. According to HRDC leaders, the demonstrations were delayed to allow for further planning and for people to mourn Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa. The marches are being held under the banner “One Million March” to demand the resignation of the Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jane Ansah. HRDC leaders have vowed to continue protesting until Ansah resigns.
Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around any protest sites. Previous rallies have resulted in clashes between protesters and security forces or rival political supporters; such violence is possible in potential upcoming demonstrations.
Election-related demonstrations organized by opposition supporters have been held since May 26 after voting irregularities were reported during the May 21 general elections. Protesters have notably criticized Ansah and called for her resignation, after she was accused of mishandling the presidential elections.
Individuals in Malawi 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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