UTM leader Saulos Chilima has said the mass protest would continue in the country until Jane Ansah resigns as chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) , warning that the police did not have the power to stop them.
“We have the energy and we have the people,” he told reporters in Blantyre when he joined thousands of people in the streets holding demonstrations styled as ‘Ansah must fall’.
Chilima wearing a fashionable camouflage attire looking like a military officer, said: “We will remain in the streets until she (Ansah) goes.”
The immediate past- Vice President applauded the High Court for what he called a landmark ruling, referring to the dismissal of the application for an injunction by the Attorney General to stop the demonstrations.
“We applaud the courts for standing with the people and democracy. It’s our right as Malawians to demonstrate when we are not happy and when we’re happy. We will continue to demonstrate. No retreat,” he said.
The Attorney General had petitioned the court to ban the protests which have over the last few months resulted in clashes between opposition elements and security forces.
Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda dismissed Attorney General Kaleleni Kaphale’s application for a injunction against the protests targeting Ansah.
Ansah, a judge at the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, is accused of mismanaging the presidential results in May favouring President Peter Mutharika for re- election. She denies any wrong doing and has adamantly refused to resign.
The High Court panel of five judges sitting as a Constitutional Court is now being asked by Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera to scrub out the outcome and order a rerun.
The judges will, from Thursday August 8 2019, begin deliberations in an effort to resolve a crisis that has spilled on to the streets of the normally peaceful southern African country.
If, as the opposition said it expects, the court orders a fresh election, it will be only the second time in Africa that judges have nullified a national poll.
Boniface Dulani, professor at the Institute of Public Opinion and Research at the University of Malawi, said an election annulment would build on the Kenyan precedent.
“It would send a strong signal to the continent’s rulers that manipulating elections does not mean automatic passage to state house,” he said.
Blessings Chimsinga, associate professor at the University of Malawi, said the case was “make or break” for a public that had lost faith in the electoral process.
Any rerun, he said, would need comprehensive electoral reforms to be credible. Otherwise, he added, “it would be like putting new wine in old bottles”.
Ansah defended herself in local media against accusations that election tally sheets were doctored, she said: “Correctional fluid, if you check in the dictionary, corrects errors. Tipp-Ex can be used for positive and negative purposes and that is for the court to find out.”
The court has 24 days to deliberate and its decision is final.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :