Malawi’s government has banned a three-day nationwide protest against the electoral body, which was due to start on Wednesday.
The protesters have been holding regular demonstrations since the election in May in which President Peter Mutharika was narrowly elected to a second term in office with 38.5% of the vote.
Protesters say the election was rigged. They want the chair of the electoral commission, Jane Ansah, to stand down.
Information Minister Mark Botomani told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that the government has instructed city councils and district councils not to issue permission to protest.
He said that this was because previous protests had become violent and security forces had been overwhelmed.
“We have seen people’s property being destroyed, houses being burned down. My own office was vandalised,” he said.
However, Mr Botomani denied an accusation made by the opposition that the violence might be by people supporting the ruling party.