Malawians are bracing for fresh unrest after the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) unveiled plans for a series of nationwide protests from next week.
The normally stable and peaceful country was hit by protests throughout last year over the disputed presidential election result, and on Friday the HRDC activists threatened the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) with “the mother of all demonstrations” if they don’t step down in the next week.
The coalition said they have resolved to hold mass demonstration in all 28 districts of the country to allow people exercise their constitutional right to demand MEC chairperson Jane Ansah’s resignation together with all her commissioner.
HRDC has been leading nationwide demonstrations to force Ansah to resign for allegedly presiding over a flawed May 21 presidential election, which was marred by use of correction fluid Tippex to alter figures on result sheets.
The coalition has given Ansah and her team of commissioners an ultimatum — resign by Friday of next week or face a fresh round of demonstrations following a court ruling which has established wrong doing in the management of the May 21 presidential elections.
“We will continue to fight. We will be back on the streets if they don’t resign,” said HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.
Gift Trapence, vice chairman of the coalition added that the commissioner are going to see “the biggest or the mother of all demonstrations in Malawi.”
He warned that protesters would “shut down” the electoral commission offices, adding “this time we are actually prepared to even do vigils in their (commissioners) homes.”
After marathon six-month hearings broadcast on public radio, the Constitution Court on Monday declared that President Peter Mutharika was “not duly elected”.
It cited what it called massive and widespread irregularities, especially the use of correction fluid on ballot sheets.
The court also castigated the electoral commission, ordering an investigation into the “competence and conduct” of its seven members and staff.
Mutharika has slammed the Constitutional Court decision, vowed to appeal and even to run in the fresh election ordered by the judges.
Ansah, a judge at the Supreme Court of Aappeal, and the electoral commission have also filed for an appeal and wants the court to suspend the implementation of the Constitution Court landmark ruling.
She said the court acted in “excess of its powers”.
Political scientist Blessings Chinsinga backs a call to fire commissioners and the management of MEC adding that the court order gives Malawi an opportunity to take its democratic governance back on track.
Chinsinga said Ansah and her commissioners “do not have any iota of credibility” and there should never be anywhere near Malawi electoral processes.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :