BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Women Manifesto Movement (WMM) says rights of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Dr. Justice Jane Ansah have been violated through recent demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and politicians.
WMM which is composed of diverse organisations and individuals that champion women’s rights made their stance clear in a press statement released on July 10, 2019 that strongly condemns the abusive, degrading and demeaning personal insults that have been showered at MEC Chairperson who presided over the disputed May 21, 2019 Tripartite Elections.
“We are disheartened by the increasing tendency to insult and use language that is abusive and undermines the dignity and modesty of a woman towards Dr Jane Ansah. These insults injure and negatively impact on the portrayal of women’s leadership in this country,” reads the statement.
WMM says they wish to remind the public, especially those involved in the demonstrations that use of language that insults the dignity of any woman is not only a breach of the person’s rights but is also a criminal offence punishable by law.
The statement acknowledges the constitutionally-guaranteed right for any Malawian to participate in peaceful demonstrations, however, it says Ansah’s dignity shouldn’t been violated.
WMM have since asked Human Rights Defenders, political leaders and all organizers of the demonstrations to stop and not allow the use and display of placards with insulting and abusive language.
“We also called upon individuals participating in demonstrations to stop the use of insulting and demeaning language towards Dr. Ansah,” reads part of the statement which also calls on law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant in protecting people’s rights and enforcing the law.
Further that statement urges all Malawians of goodwill join in condemning acts or utterances that target MEC Chairperson as a woman, or any other woman at all times in a manner that undermines the constitutionally guaranteed right to dignity.
WWM says the statement is being made in defense of all people’s human rights, especially women, and in recognition of the importance of ensuring that as people exercise their rights such as the right to peaceful demonstrations, they should equally respect the rights of others.
Human Rights Activists and politicians are calling on the MEC Chairperson to resign due to what is being alleged as messy and biased handling of the election which saw incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, Peter Mutharika, retain the presidency in a close contest against one of his challengers, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The recent anti-Ansah demonstrations were marred by acts of violence and vandalism to both private and public property.
Government is yet to quantify the cost of the damage.