Thousands of people gathered in the capital Lilongwe, commercial city of Blantyre and nationwide on Thursday to demonstrate and make fresh calls for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC\0 chairperson Jane Ansah to resign over alleged electoral fraud since President Peter Mutharika’s May re-election.
The marchers in Lilongwe, who were joined by UTM Party president Saulos Chilima, headed towards Kamuzu Palace – official residence of President Peter Mutharika- to present the petition to remove Ansah, a judge of Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, as MEC chair.
The protesters accuse Ansah of fraud in declaring Mutharika the winner of the May election with 38 percent of the vote.
Speaking before the start of the march in Lilongwe, Chilima cautioned protestors against damaging property.
“This is a peaceful protests. All we want is for Jane Ansah to step down,” he said.
He led the crowds into singing a song “Dzikoli ndi lathu, koma Jane Ansah waononga!”
Chilima said they will not relent until Ansah resigns.
Runners-up Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM’s Chilima are challenging the election results in court, alleging ballot-stuffing and the use of Tipp-Ex correction fluid to change votes.
Timothy Mtambo, chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which organised the protests, said besides protesting to force Ansah to resign, HRDC will engage other gears to ensure she resigns.
He said they will write the chairperson of Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) to consider removing Ansah from the position in line with Section 75 of the Constitution which gives the committees powers to appoint and remove officers in and from positions they are confirmed on.
One of the HRDC members Solomon Ndalama Phiri said they will present the petition to the President or his representative at a distance of 100 metres away from Kamuzu Palace as required by the law.
He said the same will happen in all State Residences and where there is none, the petition will be presented to the district commissioner.
MCP’s Chakwera joined protestors in Blantyre who marched to Sanjika Palace.
Political analyst Vincent Kondowe told VOA that with continued protests and no dialogue, Malawi will head toward anarchy.
Kondowe said President Mutharika, Chakwera, and Chilima need to reach a compromise.
“Even if the court came in today and said, ‘well, the elections were conducted in a proper manner’, the political disagreements will continue. So, for me the best way is for the leaders to agree to have a re-run because even Peter Mutharika himself agrees that the elections were messed up. He has been speaking this in different political rallies that he has conducted,” he said.
But Malawi authorities have dismissed re-running the election.
The Malawi Law Society (MLS) recently asked embattled MEC chairperson Ansah to “deeply reflect on the value of remaining in office” when her stay seems to be a cause for social disruption and political unrest.
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