By Moses Michael-Phiri
BLANTYRE, Malawi (AA) - Malawi's President Peter Mutharika ordered on Wednesday the country’s military to act with necessary force to stop protests aimed at shutting down airports and border posts on Aug. 26-30.
"Without the borders, there is no Malawi. These people [the opposition] are waging war on our country. I have no choice but to take necessary measures to protect the borders with all the necessary force," Mutharika, the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces, said as he commissioned naval boats on Lake Malawi in the southern town of Mangochi.
He said the military, together with the police should be deployed at the airports and border districts to stop the shutdown because the protests are not about elections but to usurp power from him.
"Any attack on our borders or airports will be treated as treason. I am, therefore, directing the police and army to stop these demonstrations. Should they go ahead, let them not say that they were not warned," he added.
Opposition political parties in the country have been holding demonstrations in major cities for the past three months to dispute the re-election of Mutharika this May.
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairman, Timothy Mtambo, on Tuesday announced that, as organizers of next week’s protests, they have decided to shutdown all airports and borders in a bid to force Mutharika to remove the head of the election commission, Justice Jane Ansah, from presiding over alleged "fraudulent elections".
Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, has dismissed the calls, saying she would only resign if the ongoing court case on the elections found her to have failed to discharge her duties.
Enerst Thindwa, a political analyst at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, told Anadolu Agency via telephone that the airport and border shutdown would paralyze the landlocked southeastern country which is surrounded by Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.