Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal has imposed a temporary ban on protests in the country. The order was granted late Monday with the government confirming the order on social media.
The order imposes a 14-day moratorium against opposition demonstrations in all parts of the country. Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, Agnes Patemba confirmed the development in an interview to local media outlets.
The court ordered amongst others that: “Within a maximum of 14 days from the date hereof the Respondents BE and are HEREBY restrained from organizing/convening demonstrations.
During the said time the parties hereto shall hold negotiations to determine a manner in which the Respondents' exercise of their rights in section 38 of the Constitution can be had without undue incidents of violence and crime.
“During the said time the parties hereto shall hold negotiations to determine a manner in which the Respondents’ exercise of their rights in section 38 of the Constitution can be had without undue incidents of violence and crime.”
The Attorney General had taken the case to the court as an appellant against three defendants; Gift Trapence, Timothy Mtambo and the Malawi Human Tights Defenders Coalition as first, second and third respondents respectively..
The government had banned a three-day nationwide protest expected to have started on Wednesday. Protesters are challenging outcome of presidential polls in May this year.
The vote returned incumbent Peter Arthur Mutharika as president for a final term but the opposition is challenging the outcome in the Constitutional Court.
The protests are also demanding the resignation of the chairperson of the elections body, Janet Ansah, who they have repeatedly accused of manipulating the results to favour Mutharika.
A lower court had weeks back rejected a government application to place an embargo on protests. Protests have often led to violent, deadly clashes with members of the security forces.