Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) Northern region chapter says it will go ahead with planned demonstrations for Friday, July 19 despite calls from Mzuzu City Council to postpone.

The Council in a letter dated July 17, signed by District Commissioner Macloud Kadam’manja said in light of the graduation for Mzuzu University students, HRDC should consider changing their dates.

But Happy Mhango chairperson for HRDC in the north in an interview with Kulinji.com on Wednesday night said the assumption that they will disrupt the graduation is based on people’s fears.

Standing firm in their pledge to demonstrate Mhango said: “After serious lengthy discussions the stand is that we proceed with demos.”

Mhango explained that postponing the demos in Mzuzu can be of great danger and damage.

“I don’t see the streets of Mzuzu being quite to honor the event at hand while other areas are demonstrating,” the HRDC Northern chapter chair said.

He pointed out the damage that may result due to the running battle with the security personnel as a result of this call off is far much huge than what can be there if they are allowed to demonstrate outright despite the graduation.

Speaking on the safety Mhango said: “Our messages is preaching peace always and condemning looting. We have always said those who destroy property are not part of us. The role of assuring safety for the public is with police. I am not trained in crowd control.”

Mtafu Manda, senior lecturer in Planning at Mzuzu University who is also Director of Urban Research and Advocacy Centre in a tweet pointed out the fears that most have:

HRDC has been in the forefront calling for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign saying she mishandled the May 21st elections.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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