Embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah is not resigning from her position despite continued calls by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) that she goes, saying she is exercising her constitutional right to remain silent on matters surrounding escalating nationwide protests against her.
HRDC is holding demonstrations to Ansah to resign for allegedly mishandling the May 21 elections and handing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika victory. The results of the elections are being challenged in the Constitutional Court.
Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, already 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.
HRDC are still continuing with ‘Ansah must fall’ protests which have plunged the country into a political impasse which is negatively impacting on the economy.
Ansah, while leading a normal life, has not changed her position not to resign and now is exercising her freedom not to express herself, insisting that she constitutionally has a right to remain silent.
The Weekend Nation newspaper on Saturday August 24 2019 reported that it contacted Ansah on WhatsApp but she said: “No comment”.
According to University of Malawi’s Chancellor College-based constitutional law Professor Edge Kanyongolo, freedom of expression enshrined in the Republican Constitution also includes “freedom not to express yourself.”
And columnist Steve Nhlane in the same paper, states that Ansah has dug in on the strength of the letter and spirit of the law.
“Her stand is that whether or not she mismanaged the elections, is an issue that is in court. Until the court pronounces its verdict, she rightly thinks she is innocent. But the legal or court route is just one of the many paths to the solutions. The more meritorious solution to the matter before the 18.5 million Malawians is not in the legal shenanigans in court.
“The political impasse the country is facing which is negatively impacting the economy needs a political solution. The President should think hard about whom he wants to serve—the interest of one person or 18.5 million Malawians who are suffering? Good leaders promote the larger good,” write Nhlane.
Billions of Kwacha worth of property is being damaged, looted, burned down and stolen every time there are anti-Ansah demonstrations in the country.
HRDC’s next demonstrations have been scheduled from August 26 to 30. Initially, they wanted vigils at airports and the country’s border posts but the High Court through judge Jack N’riva denied the organisers the right to demonstrate at such places.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :