It’s thoroughly confusing why President Peter Mutharika has made no changes to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) after the Malawi Constitutional Court earlier this year ruled against its handling of the May 2019 presidential elections.
Confident MEC – workers illegally used correction fluid Tipp-ex to alter poll results — had rigged the election, main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and third runner up United Transformation Movement (UTM) took the matter to the Constitutional Court which annulled Mutharika’s re-election and ordered a fresh presidential poll in 150 days, a decision that didn’t sit well with MEC boss Jane Ansah and the beneficiaries of her decision, Mutharika and the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Ansah has refused to step down despite flood of calls for her resignation over her mismanagement of the election. She is dead set on presiding over the new poll ordered by the court and is appealing against the ruling. By her own admission, she has failed to find willing lawyers in the country to take up her case to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, and she has hired foreign lawyers.
There are two institutions that Malawians can trust. One is the judicial system as evidenced by the decision of the Constitutional Court which is believed to have foiled bribery attempts worth millions of dollars by DPP functionaries to rule in favor of MEC. The other is the military that has protected the public during political demonstrations.
Other institutions like the police are rabidly partial. Take, for example, the case of vendors who last week boldly stated that they would kill on site human rights defenders once released from police custody after they were arrested over plans to lockdown State residences on March 25 in an effort to push Mutharika to assent to electoral reform bills before Malawians vote again in the fresh election.
If one – like the vendors who apparently are rooting for Mutharika’s ruling DPP — can brazenly defy the law and threaten extra-judicial killing of fellow citizens desiring to express their right to protest, what does that say about the leadership when it does nothing about such threats?
If Ansah can refuse to step down after botching the election, what kind of political leadership does Malawi have? If the chair of the electoral commission who happens to be the same Ansah can thumb her nose at the Constitutional Court ruling – to use a 50-plus-one system, a shift from the plurality-based first past the post system which saw Mutharika win the contest just by 38 percent – what confidence can one have in the poll coming up?
While Mutharika hasn’t signed into law electoral reform measures that were passed by parliament. He has also left in place at the electoral commission a person full of shenanigans. As she continues to reveal herself as a serious nutjob, her actions will undermine the people’s faith and trust in the electoral system and democracy itself!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :