Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Navicha has said some women in the country are going to march against those who want Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign.
Navicha disclosed this at a news conference held at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre organised by a grouping calling itself Forum for Concerned Women which have members who are connected to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“Some women feel Ansah is being targeted because she is a woman so they will hold protests against that,” Navicha said.
Activist Seodi White advanced the narrative that Ansah is being targeted because she is a woman.
And she together with others wept at the news conference in a stunt dubbed “Madando tears.”
Said White: “I can’t believe Malawi has reached this stage. I can’t believe women have suffered this much. I can’t believe Jane Ansah can suffer this kind of trauma and still stand strong. But we are all Jane Ansahs.”
Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali told Nyasa Times that the Forum for Concerned Women have the Constitutional right to exercise such a right and it’s important that the public respect their right.
“As long as they follow the right procedures to do as prescribed by the Constitution and Police Act, they have a right to do so and no one can prevent them from exercising such a right. It would be interesting to hear the substance of their petition in defense of Ansah,” Munthali said.
However, the governance expert pointed out that the very fact that some senior DPP female officials are leading in organising the parade “it runs the risk of being dubbed as a DPP scheme masquerading as a gender issue- where Ansah is portrayed as being a victim of gender.”
He said: “ I am of the view that the grouping voice would have been taken more seriously if it adopted a more inclusive approach where it had representation from all political parties but at same time led by someone neutral.”
The country has seen nearly two months of protests by demonstrators who dismiss the May presidential election as fraudulent and demand the resignation Ansah.
Re-elected President Peter Mutharika on Saturday condemned the protests, saying organisers – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) – wanted to turn the country into a “lawless society”.
Leader of the largest opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Lazarus Chakwera. who alleges he was robbed of victory, and former vice president Saulos Chilima of the UTM party — have been taking part in the protests which have mostly ended up in violent acts that include arsons of State property and looting of private shops..
The President also challenged that the opposition’s “sinister plot” could only succeed over his dead body.
HRDC vice chairman Gift Trapence said the President statement is “misplaced because these protests are not targeted to overthrow the government” but “ to force Jane Ansah to resign.”
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