Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has said she will not resign as demanded by electoral stakeholders and rebutted allegations made by country’s immediate past vice-president Saulos Chilima that she favoured President Peter Mutharika in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections to the disadvantage of his challengers.
Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was declared the winner, but other contenders for the presidency, notably Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Chilima of UTM are challenging the results at the Constitutional Court.
Recently, Chilima wrote a letter to Ansah dated June 7 2019, which had claims that the MEC chairperson was overheard clearly indicating that she would rather have Mutharika win than Chilima or Chakwera.
Ansah speaking in a televised interview on private owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station said she is not resigning from the pollster as demanded by Chilima and other quarters of the society.
The MEC chairperson confirmed to interview host Frank Joab Chakhaza that she received the letter from Chilima and that it was replied.
Asked by journalist Chakhaza what was her response, Ansah said she replied to Chilima that what he pointed out are “a gist of matter that are in court.”
She said: “What I can say is that I did work according to the law.”
Chilima in his letter claimed to have evidence on the allegations against Ansah, and said he had expected the chairperson, who is a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, to provide “solid and impartial leadership” of the commission and steer the electoral process to ensure free and fair elections.
He said: “Instead, it is blatantly clear that you showed your preferences for Prof Mutharika in the manner you dealt with queries and complaints in your general conduct.”
But on Zodiak TV, Ansah said she would rather leave the matters to the court.
“What I can only say is that those are allegations,” said Ansah.
The journalist asked Ansah to comment on allegations by Chilima that she told members of the commission that she would be greatly grateful if they helped her ensure that Professor Mutharika gets re-elected.
Ansah said the allegations are “unfounded”, stressing “I never said it.”
She said her family has members who are affiliated to different political parties.
Ansah also rejected Chilima’s claims that she specifically mentioned that she did not want Chakwera to get elected because his running mate Muhammad Sidik Mia is a Muslim.
MEC chairperson said some of her relations at Kamphata in Lilongwe belong to Muslim religion.
“It is absurd for anyone to say that,” said Ansah (nee Mjojo).
“Even me at the church we don’t discuss politics, we just preach the word. I don’t know where this is coming from,” said Ansah who is also a church pastor.
Ansah said Chilima has seen it fit that he should follow proper procedure by taking his grievances to the court
“There are laws concerning everything they are talking about. Allow the whole process to go through according to the law,” said Ansah.
Opposition parties and civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have announced plans to hold further demonstrations following their unfulfilled June 20 protest demands to have Ansah resign.
But Ansah said they should wait for the court process and not rush to take the law in their own hands.
“What they are doing is mob justice,” she said.
“Dr Chilima and HRDC are they investigators, prosecutors and judges. They should wait for judgement and then act but for them to go out in the street that’s mob justice. That is lawlessness,” said Ansah who once served in the late Bingu wa Mutharika administration as Attorney General.
“Everybody should be given a chance to be heard. Let the court decide, when the matter is concluded they can stand on that judgement. They don’t have the mandate to ask me to resign, let them get the mandate first,” said MEC chairperson.
She asked the opposition and CSOs to “have the patience to wait for the court process.”
Pressed what would take her to resign, Ansah said: “When the court says yes because of the irregularities the elections were not credible.”
During the interview, Chakhaza quizzed Ansah on pictures she was photographed with the ruling DPP cadets on inauguration of President Peter Mutharika which went viral on social media. She defended herself that it was just a photo opportunity and did not realise they were party youth.
But Chakhaza pressed her that the youth were clad in DPP memorabilia and conspicuously seen to be party cadres.
“As a matter policy, I don’t watch TV, therefore I don’t know what people are wearing,” she said.
Yet earlier she said she sees her relatives wearing party colours which they post to family groups.
But explaining in one of her answers, she talked of a TV programme ‘Star Wars’, showing her knowledge of what’s on television.
Pressed if she could be proud of the way she handled the 2019 elections, Ansah said: “I stand by what I said [before]. Everything, I did according to the law, my conscious is clear.”
Ansah maintained there was no rigging in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, pointing out that Malawians are saying something different from what others who are crediting the country’s elections as credible.
She cited the feedback from Commonwealth Observer Mission that credited Malawi alone of the first countries in the world where they have used auditors during the elections.
During the interview, Ansah said she was leading a ‘normal life despite widespread calls for her to resign over the chaotic elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :