Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) beleaguered chairperson Jane Ansah was grilled when she was interviewed on the private owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station over correction fluid Tippex which was widely used on tally sheets in May 21 2019 presidential elections, prompting the main opposition to file a lawsuit.
The programme, which aired Monday evening, laid bare credibility bankruptcy of the electoral body as Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, was evasive in her answers as British trained journalist Joab Frank Chakhaza quizzed her on irregularities.
In no holds barred interview, one of the best to have come from a Malawian journalist, Chakhaza put Ansah on spot that she admitted that Tipp-Ex -or a similar fluid – had been used on some result sheets at polling stations.
Chakhaza did his postgraduate studies in media-related programmes under the prestigious Chevening Scholarship of the in the United Kingdom and had work placement at British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) .
He reminded Ansah on her remarks that the commission did not supply any correction fluid as part of the election material, but she had to shield herself to avoid influencing an opinion, saying the matter is in court and did not want to prejudice the matter.
Ansah said during training of polling staff the electoral body made emphasis that there should not be any use of such during the elections.
“You know this matter is in court and I do not intend to give evidence to the media,” said Ansah.
“Correctional fluid if you check in the dictionary it corrects errors. That’s what the court will find out. .. that’s the matter for the court,” said Ansah.
Ansah maintained that MEC did not provide Tippex.
“Tippex can be used for positive or negative purposes and that is for the court to find out,” said the MEC chairperson.
The role of correction fluid has become one part of a battle over alleged interference in the election.
“That’s what I am saying that I am not giving evidence here that will be for the court to determine… As I have said the matter is in court and those answers will be provided in court,” said Ansah.
Ansah maintains there was no rigging in the May 21 Tripartite Elections saying “I do not see any room for rigging.”
She said when it comes to elections management those that MEC work with are stakeholders and biggest stakeholders are politicians.
“At National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) we shared everything that we were doing. We also had code of conducts,” said Ansah.
Journalist Chakhaza pressed Ansah: “ We heard that the [electoral] commission was divided before the announcement of the results, were there some members of the commission that were not pleased that results should not be announced in that manner?”
Ansah expressed surprise with the question, saying in all their work, it was done on “a consensus.”
Chakhanza also asked Ansah on the situation of the polling day when immediate former Vice President Saulos Chilima who is also the leader of UTM went to cast his vote at St. Thomas Polling Centre in Area 18 in Lilongwe City, he was told that his name was not found in the voter’s roll.
It was later discovered that Chilima’s name had been transferred to Chikweo School in Chizumulu Island in Likoma District despite the fact that Chilima never asked to have his name transferred to Likoma.
“We made a follow up and found who had done the transfer and we said it was one of the hired MEC hired staff who was not with us at that time,” said Ansah
Quizzed on the status of the investigations, Ansah said: “We don’t know if the police have found the person and interviewed him. We are yet to get a report.”
Asked if the electoral body was interested to pursue the matter, Ansah said: “MEC is not an investigative body. We did what we could, identified who made the transfer and gave all the information for police to work on.”
She said the electoral body has been following the matter but when police conclude their investigations they will take it to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to determine if it warrants prosecution.
Ansah also said during the interview that all the 147 complaints, madando, were addressed before the election results were announced and there is no outstanding issue at MEC.
Some commenting on Zodiak live streaming on Facebook page accused Ansah of lying under her teeth but some defended her, saying she was proving her innocence.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :