Citizens for Transformation (CFT) – a people power movement – has alleged that the recent resignation of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah is a calculated move by the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the pollster to rig the forthcoming fresh presidential election.
CFT Commander In Chief Timothy Mtambo says while his political movement welcomes the long-awaited resignation of Ansah, they are at pains to celebrate because they have been informed that her exit is part of the rigging scheme orchestrated by DPP.
Mtambo makes the allegations in the statement the movement has issued on Tuesday and made available to Nyasa Times .
“Our well-placed sources (whose information we verily believe to be true and correct) have informed us that Dr Jane Ansah’s resignation is part of a rigging scheme orchestrated by the DPP. We will share more details on this rigging scheme as our intelligence team on the ground gather more information, reads the statement in part.
“Let me underscore the following: The resignation of Dr. Jane Ansah was long overdue, and we find no reason to congratulate her for wasting Malawi’s time. On the heels of her resignation, we demand the appointing authority to move with speed on a suitable replacement and for avoidance of doubt, such replacement extends to the rest of MEC Commissioners and secretariat officials who alongside Dr. Ansah were found by both the Courts and Parliament to be “incompetent and lacking seriousness toward their duty. We, at CFT, find such determined character of Electoral Commission officials to be posing a serious danger to the conduct of elections and the institutions of democracy in this country,” Mtambo adds in the letter.
He has since warned President Peter Mutharika and DPP to desist fooling Malawians, challenging that whatever they are planning will not succeed.
“For Peter Mutharika and your DPP cronies, we have got news for you; we know what DPP is planning behind the scenes and we can assure you that you will not succeed. We will clamp down on your agents and thwart any attempts to manipulate the electoral system in your favor,” Mtambo warns.
He further cautions Mutharika against delaying the appointment of MEC Commissioners in order to shift the election’s date, saying that will be acting against Section 4(1) of the Electoral Commissions Act 16 of 2010 which enjoins him to exercise his appointing powers in accordance with the Constitution.
Mtambo states that i Mutharika is indeed a professor of law, he ought to understand that after assuming presidency in 2014, he swore to, at all times, defend and protect the Constitution.
“He also ought to know that he is not bigger than Malawi and the Constitution. The Electoral Commission Act does not request but rather gives an obligation on the President to appoint Commissioners in consultation with the political parties represented in the National Assembly. The same Act further apportions an authority to the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament to determine the terms and conditions of these Commissioners. We further draw Peter Mutharika’s attention to section 5 of the Constitution which provides that any decision that is inconsistent with the Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid,” says the former chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).
Mtambo, who also served as the executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) before going into active politics, argues that the President has no legal backing to unilaterally or unreasonably withhold an appointment, which has been duly recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (in the case of appointment of MEC Chair) and political Parties and the Public Appointments Committee (in the case of Commissioners).
He says doing so will be plunging our nation into a serious constitutional crisis which no Malawian is prepared to witness in contemporary democracy.
“We remind Peter Mutharika that Malawi is a God-fearing nation. Malawians have had enough of Mutharika’s attempts to frustrate and circumvent our democracy. Mr. Caretaker President, it is a tall order to think that you can delay the Court sanctioned fresh elections by abusing your powers. Put concisely, the right of all Malawians to have a functioning and credible MEC within a reasonable time is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution. As CFT, we will not spare any efforts and resources, be they litigation or otherwise to interdict any unreasonable delays by your office to appoint the Commissioners,” Mtambo stresses.
Meanwhile, CFT has reiterate its demand to have MEC elections management system audited by independent information technology (IT) specialists in presence of representatives from all political parties that will contest, together with representatives from the civil society, religious communities and the private sector.
The movement has further asked development partners like the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK) and Germany, among others, to intervene in the cleaning up of the voter’s roll for fair and credible elections.
Mtambo emphasizes that if the donors and development partners are serious about ensuring credible and fair elections as the purport to profess, they must demonstrate what they preach by joining the CFT in calling for the audit of the electoral system and voter’s roll.
“Let me conclude by highlighting that it is in our considered view, as CFT, that the appointing authority should no longer hold the country at ransom by either being elusive or continuing with dilly-dallying tactics on these urgent matters of national interest. I must emphasize: We, at CFT, strongly hold that the current crop of Commissioners has no legal, technical or moral basis to handle fresh elections following their gross mismanagement of May 19, 2019 Presidential election. The appointment of new EC leadership in the affected capacities must happen without any delay,” he ends his statement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :