Embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah is not tendering her resignation despite mounting pressure for her to step aside over alleged fraud since President Peter Mutharika’s May re-election.
Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) with backing from opposition parties have said they will engage extra gear for twice-a-week street action to force Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, to resign for allegedly compromising herself and mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections and purportedly favouring President Peter Mutharika.
But MEC sources said depiste the country being ripped apart, Ansah remains the electoral body’s chairperson and emphatically denying that he would resign.
Ansah herself said she is personally alright and leading a normal life despite the nation burning for her to go.
She described accusations of her personal bias as unfounded and baseless.
Ansah rejected any calls for her to resign on principle, saying she will wait for the court’s judgement on the matter to decide whether to call it quits.
She described nationwide demonstrations demanding her resignation as “mob justice”.
Ansah defiance could stem from the fact that the appointing authority could be rallying behind her.
Some governance analysts have said Ansah’s position at MEC has become technically untenable in the face of growing calls for her resignation.
“If what is happening in the country regarding the role of the MEC chair was happening in a country where democracy and governance systems were strong, Justice Ansah would have stepped down on her own long ago,” noted governance analyst Henry Chingaipe.
Ernest Thindwa, a political commentator based at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said he believed that Ansah’s status as MEC chairperson was no longer safe.
He said: “Whether what she did was right or wrong, her position is untenable.
“The significance of the issues that some people have raised, including the position by the court to validate the petition by Malawi Congress Party [MCP] and UTM, shows that the concerns are genuine.
“In my view, perception matters most and that the best thing Justice Ansah would do is to honourably resign.”
Ansah has become the second MEC chairperson to face resignation calls after the late William Hanjahanja who tendered his resignation in May 1999 amid pressure from electoral stakeholders.
Then president Bakili Muluzi replaced Hanjahanja, who cited health grounds as reasons for his resignation within weeks to the 1999 elections, with Supreme Court Judge James Kalaile.
Stakeholders accused Hanjahanja of poor leadership, but the commission said medical doctors had given him a two-week bed rest after treating him for malaria and high blood pressure.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :