On Monday, August 26, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) announced plans for a three-day shutdown from Wednesday, August 28, through Friday, August 30, in Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu. The demonstrations come amid an ongoing movement to call for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah, who faces allegations of election mismanagement following the May 21 presidential elections. Later on that day, the government issued a statement banning the planned demonstrations due to the risk of unrest, warning that those who participate will be met with necessary force.
A heightened security presence is to be expected in the three cities on August 28-30. Police are likely to forcibly disperse the protests; clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. Transportation and business disruptions are also possible.
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. While HRDC maintains its demands for Ansah's resignation, there is growing discontent among protesters with President Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a whole.
Individuals in Malawi are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and public gatherings, anticipate transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities. Individuals traveling to Malawi are advised to confirm flight itineraries and reservations.
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