MEC Chair Jane Ansah Throws-in Towel
A rights and law expert, Justin Dzonzi, has warned that the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson, Dr. Jane Ansah, last night could plunge Malawi into yet another electoral crisis not long from now.
"Her resignation means that in two weeks’ time, we are going to have no commission at all. So when one is looking at that possibility and then the holding of election either on 23rd June or 2nd July, we might be running into another crisis,’’ Dzonzi told Zodiak Media.
The expert says, in his view, Dr. Ansah is wrong to say she has stepped aside because she respects the ruling of the Supreme Court which found that her commission performed below par.
"The decision to resign is usually a matter of personal choice and not necessarily a legal requirement. When she says this is to respect the rule of law, it gives the impression that she is acting under obligation to resign which, in my opinion, is not correct.
"This is a moral choice that an office holder might choose,’’ he argued.
Dr. Ansah told state broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation-MBC-that she has written the appointing authority on her decision hinting she has also alerted President Peter Mutharika.
“In the legal process, the court process, the highest court of the land is the Supreme Court. Now we know that litigation must come to an end. So when it is like that, it doesn’t matter what somebody feels but what matters is that the court … has given its’ judgment and it has to be complied with.
"I have written to the appointing authority that I am stepping aside. Because I respect the judgment of the Supreme Court. Not the demonstrations. That is why I stood through the demonstrations. The highest court has spoken, yes, I have to step aside,’’ Ansah told MBC.
She said she leave office with a “clear conscious” and convinced that she had done a good job to the best of her knowledge and ability.
The announcement is coming after Dr. Ansah had pledged in an earlier exclusive interview with Zodiak that she would step down of the courts found her commission guilty of mismanaging the 2019 poll.
Chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition-HRDC-Gift Trapence whose organisation led street demonstrations for eleven months demanding Ansah’s resignation says ‘’it’s good riddance.
"Malawians should celebrate. It is because of Malawians that she has resigned. Without pressure from Malawians, she would not have resigned. I think we have to thank Malawians, not her. She has wasted Malawians’ time for the past eleven months.
"This country has been on a stand still because of her arrogance. Malawians are the winners. They should celebrate because of their bravery in terms of making sure that she is accountable,’’ he said.
Two of the contestants in the May 2019 presidential election; Dr. Lazarus Chakwera who represented the Malawi Congress Part and Dr. Saulos Chilima who represented the UTM party succeeded in convincing both the High Court and later the Supreme Court that the poll was grossly mismanaged.
The two courts agreed on the need for a fresh presidential election within 150 days from February 3, 2020.