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Avoid violence and inflammatory rhetoric: US Embassy

Written by  MBC Online

The United States Embassy in Malawi has urged  all political players in the country to respect the right to peaceful protest as enriched in the Malawi Constitution while avoiding violence and inflammatory rhetoric.

Burning of tyres and both private and public property has been the order of the day during demos organised by HRDC. Burning of tyres and both private and public property has been the order of the day during demos organised by HRDC.
19
July

“The United States encourages Malawians to follow a peaceful and lawful process to resolve electoral disputes, particularly through the Malawi Constitutional Court hearing on petitions challenging the results of the May 21 presidential elections,” the Embassy said in a statement released Thursday ahead of demos planned by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) on Friday.

The US Government has since endorsed the May 21 poll as "successful."

On Independence Day July 6, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Michael Pompeo, sent a congratulatory message to Malawi on the 55th anniversary of
independence.

He said “Malawi’s recent successful national elections underscore the nation’s commitment to our shared democratic principles.”

Pompeo said: “These values form the basis of our strong partnership and we look forward to continuing, and building upon, the positive relationship between Malawi and
the United States.”

The opposition MCP and UTM have petitioned the constitutional court seeking a re-run, disputing that the election was rigged by MEC in favour of Mutharika.

Both MEC and Mutharika deny this. The President says the opposition "lost big time."


The coalition, which has since June staged several destructive demos in major cities and towns of the country, are seeking to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah to resign, accusing her of rigging the May 21 presidential results and declaring President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika winner.

Opposition parties MCP and UTM are challenging the presidential results and are seeking a re-run of the poll.

The Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe will start hearing the substantive case from July 29. Five high court judges are on the panel.

NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT TO RESIGN

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) says there is no legal requirement for Ansah to resign, saying the Law Society notes that there is no legal requirement for the Electoral Commission Chairperson to resign should there be a dispute over an electoral outcome taken under Part IX and/or Part XI of the PPEA.

The MLS called “upon the organisers and supporters of the anti-MEC Chairperson demonstrations to deeply reflect on the value of such demonstrations while the substance of the subject matter remains a legal dispute being managed through the courts.

At the same time, MLS said Ansah should also “deeply reflect on the value of remaining in office,” adding that her stay seemed to be the cause for social distruption and political unrest.

The Law Society has also recommended to all concerned parties to refrain from conducting themselves in any manner that suggests that they have taken over the power of the court.

“We encourage all addressees to bear in mind that under the constitutional order adopted by the people of Malawi in 1994, the law is the only standard to which all the people of Malawi can or ought to safely return for guidance on matters such as the current political stand-off regarding the outcome of the May 21 presidential polls.

“Unless the remedies available under the law were exhausted in circumstances which are justifiably unsatisfactory, there is no reason that can, in the interim, justify neglecting the rule of law," the MLS added.

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