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Malawi’s Army is Being Hailed for Protecting Protesters

Demonstrators have been calling for electoral justice, following last year’s disputed presidential elections. The military’s latest intervention occurred after a fraud-marred election last year that returned President Peter Mutharika to office. Thousands of civilians last month marched to the offices of the disgraced electoral commission where they chained and padlocked its entrance — and handed the keys to an army officer. “Recent images of Malawi army soldiers protecting and leading opposition rally demonstrations are counter-intuitive in the eyes of many Africans,” said New York-based Malawian political analyst Nathan Chiume. In Africa “we are used to seeing national armies typically deployed on the streets to enforce government’s orders against opposition members, not to guarantee the rights of citizens to peacefully demonstrate and petition the government,” he said.