UTM Party president Saulos Chilima has urged his party supporters and Malawians to join peaceful demonstrations organised by civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to push Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Jane Ansah to resign.
Chilima, addressing a televised rally at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre on Sunday, said peaceful demonstration were a right for all as provided in the Constitution .
“The CSOs are holding demonstrations on 4th and 5th July. Let us support them, go konko,” said Chilima.
“We should demonstrate so that Mayi Madando (Ansah) must resign. These demonstrations will not stop until she steps down. This will be second gear if she refuses to go then we will have a lockdown,” said Chilima.
The CSOs, electoral stakeholders and the electorate are demanding Ansah’s resignation on allegations that she failed to handle the May 21 presidential elections, which were marred by alleged irregularities and purportedly favouring President Peter Mutharika.
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.
However, speaking in an exclusive interview last week with private broadcaster Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), Ansah described accusations of her personal bias as unfounded and baseless.
During the interview, Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, 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”.
But Chilima quashed Ansah, saying the embattled electoral commission chairwoman messed up votes of the mob.
Recently, Chilima also wrote Ansah a letter in which he said he had evidence that the embattled MEC chairwoman spoke to colleagues at the electoral body to work on re-electing Mutharika and stop the possible ascendancy to the vice-presidency of MCP running mate Muhammad Sidik Mia allegedly for being a Muslim.
During the ZBS interview, Ansah denied both allegations, saying she has no access to MEC staff except the chief elections officer.
She said: “What I can say is that I did my work according to law.”
Chilima has since said President Mutharika should join the demonstration since the president also complained that his votes were stolen.
“[Mutharika] is most welcome to demonstrate with us so that Ansah should resign. Everyone who is not happy with Ansah’s management of the elections should get to the streets on Thursday and Friday,” Chilima said.
He also urged Mutharika to fire Ansah if he wants the demonstrations to stop.
Catholic bishops in the country, under the Episcopal Conference on Malawi (ECM), state in a statement, issued on Friday, that it is the right of Malawians to hold peaceful demonstrations as provided in the Constitution and called on citizens to maintain peace, calm and unity as the nation waits for the court’s determination on the matter.
They also call for justice to prevail in the matter in court, stressing that they did not find it prudent to comment on matters related to the conduct, transmission and management of the electoral results.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :