Embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has cunningly sprung up to defend the pollster’s decision to hire South African lawyers to help in the presidential elections appeal case for a staggering $788 000 (about K600 million),legal fee, saying democracy is not cheap.
Ansah said this Friday in Blantyre during the National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting attended by political party representatives and other electoral stakeholders.
“Democracy is not cheap. They are the same costs the Attorney General [Kalekeni Kaphale] was getting when he was representing the Commission in the case,” she told the gathering when answering a question.
Malawians have taken up in various social media platforms to condemn MEC for hiring the foreign lawyers at such a higher fee for the Supreme Court appeal case.
The foreign lawyers lost their first case in the Supreme Court after the Court threw out an application by MEC to suspend the implementation of the Constitutional Court ruling.
One of the participants at the meeting Moses Mkandawire of the Church and Society of the Livingstonia synod asked Ansah why she and the other commissioners were not leaving the commission as recommended by the Constitutional Court and parliament.
In reply, Ansah said: “We are ready to leave the commission any time but we want to leave it in good condition.”
Things nearly got out of hand in the meeting when Peoples Party secretary general Ibrahim Matola told Ansah to leave the commission with “her bras and underwears.”
But delegates reprimanded Matola for her crass remarks.
A document bearing the name of the South African law firm—Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys—shows that the contract sum is $788 000 (about K600 million), half of which has to be paid in advance on or by March 13 2020.