Malawi Law Society (MLS) has called on embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to “deeply reflect” on the value of remaining in office as her position has become technically untenable in the face of growing calls for her resignation for allegedly compromising herself and mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections and purportedly favouring President Peter Mutharika.
Ansah, who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, is on record as having said the Constitutional Court hearing a petition for the nullification of the presidential race in will determine if she was wrong.
She described on-going nationwide demonstrations organised by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) demanding her resignation as “mob justice”.
But in a letter dated July 12 2019 under the subject Management of Electoral Complaints and Determination of Electoral Complaints and Determinations of Electoral Results concerning presidential election 2019, addressed to politicians, the electoral body and HRDC, among others, the law society calls upon organisers of anti-Ansah demonostrations to deeply reflect on the value of the protests “while the substance of the subject matter remains a legal dispute being managed through the Courts with a possibility of either outcome, at least in legal theory.”
MLS said no doubt there is a right to demonstrate but request the organisers to reflect on the protests especially when on the two occasions so far, such demonstrations have led to destruction of property .
They argue that the constitutional right to demonstrate guaranteed in Section 38 of the Constitution is inherently connected to such demonstrations being peaceful.
On the other hand, the Law Society calls upon MEC chairperson to “further equally reflect on the value of remaining in office while her stay in that office seems to be a cause for social disruption and political unrest.”
The statement was signed my Martha Kaukonde the honourary secretary for the Law Society.
It is also addressed to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani-Hara and Inspector General (IG) of Police Rodney Jose.
Ansah has become the second MEC chairperson to face resignation calls after the late William Hanjahanja who tendered his resignation in May 1999 amid pressure from electoral stakeholders.
Then president Bakili Muluzi replaced Hanjahanja, who cited health grounds as reasons for his resignation within weeks to the 1999 elections, with Supreme Court Judge James Kalaile.
Stakeholders accused Hanjahanja of poor leadership, but the commission said medical doctors had given him a two-week bed rest after treating him for malaria and high blood pressure.
The civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of HRDC have organised weekly demonstrations nationwide to force Ansah to step down for allegedly mismanaging the elections.
The CSOs, are supported by the two petitioners seeking nullification of the presidential elections, Saulos Chilima of UTM Party and Lazarus Chakwera of MCP.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :