Ansah must go–Chilima

UTM president Saulos Chilima has called for the immediate resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Jane Ansah.

But Catholic University-based political scientist Nandin Patel, in an interview yesterday, asked for electoral stakeholders to first wait for court ruling on the election case results before condemning Ansah.

Chilima wants Ansah to step down

“Look, let’s look at elections as a whole process, everyone says from registration to voting, the process went well. I don’t deny that there have been irregularities but look, the matters are in court and let’s wait to see the court outcome first and then that should inform the calls for her to resign or not,” said Patel.

Addressing the media at the party’s headquarters in Area 10, Lilongwe, Chilima, who is the former State vice-president, said the party has gathered evidence of misconduct by the head of the electoral body.

He said UTM will officially release contents of a letter containing the evidence if Ansah refuses to step down within five days.

Patel: Let’s first wait for the court case ruling

Chilima said the letter contains evidence of misconduct and has been addressed to Ansah.

Failure to comply with the demand, he said, will necessitate releasing the evidence to the public.

“We have gathered evidence of widespread misconduct of the agents of the declared winner, the [MEC’s] officers, security personnel and others. This is the evidence we shall be taking to court for the court’s intervention.

“Beyond the above-mentioned evidence, we have further gathered evidence of misconduct on the part of the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission [MEC] which shall be shared with the commission privately,” Chilima told the media.

He said UTM’s position with Ansah is that, having dismally failed to lead the commission and having returned the most fraudulent elections in the history of this nation, she should just resign ‘so that a capable person can lead the commission.’ 

The former corporate executive -turned-politician further appealed for calm among the party’s supporters and condemned the recent spate of post-election violence by some rioting members of the opposition and equally disproportionate response by police forces.

Chilima, flanked by party officials, including secretary general Patricia Kaliati and publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti-Malunga, said calling for calm should not be interpreted as the party’s acceptance of the disputed results.

He, therefore, warned that the party’s supporters will be requested to release their anger at an appropriate time.

Chilima also delivered a direct warning to President Mutharika, asking him to relinquish what he termed ‘criminally assumed power’.

Although Ansah could not be reached for comment yesterday, MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the commission is yet to receive the letter from Chilima.

However, he pointed out that the law only allows the President to remove the chairperson of the commission.

“As of now, we don’t have the letter, unless it has been delivered through other means. There is no response at the moment because the letter has not been received,” said Mwafulirwa.

Civil society grouping, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) were first to call for resignation of Ansah last week.

“We have lost trust in her completely,” HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said in an interview.  n

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