MHRC calls demos ‘crime-based’, appeals to organisers to call off protests

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The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), whose operations are financed by Capital Hill, on Monday expressed worry with the continued violence during public protests across the country demanding the resignation of MEC Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah, saying the demos were no longer rights-based but crime-based.

Police and protestors in running battles Police and protestors in running battles

The Commission, which leads in the protection and promotion of human rights,  said in a statement signed by its executive secretary David Nungu said the violent nature of the protests have not lived up to everyone expectation  “as has always been emphasised by the organisers, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC)”

“To the contrary, the protests have turned violent and ceased to be rights-based. Instead, they have become crime-based, resulting in destruction of property, looting of businesses and occasioning of various forms of violations of other equally important rights,” said Nungu in a statement seen by MBC Online.

Nungu singled out the recent looting of property and demolition of wall of Reverend Killion Mgawi's house in Lilongwe, a member of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), as well as shortlisting for targeting of other MEC members and officers with similar forms of violence, as some of the barbaric acts disguised as protests.

“The Commission condemns these merciless and irresponsible developments of violence in the strongest terms possible. The Commission does not believe that violence can solve the current disputes,” added Nungu.

The Commission, whose mandate is also to provide access to effective remedies for human rights grievances, has since appealed to the organisers of the demonstrations, the HRDC, to consider “calling off the demonstrations for now and allow room for a reflection meeting with the Commission”.

HRCC’s stand comes bared few days after the Malawi Law Society (MLS) also condemned the same and questioned the wisdom of organizing such protests when the disputes were still in court.

In his press briefing on Monday, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Reverend Lazarus Chakwera failed to seize the opportunity to condemn the violence that have seen the torching down of public and private property, while mourning deeply on the torching down of the MCP regional  office in Blantyre by some unknown people.


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