By Nenenji Mlangeni
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has given beleaguered Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah three options in the wake of nationwide demonstrations aimed at forcing her to resign, warning that unless she goes, protests across the country will continue to paralyse normal business.
The protests turned violent in three cities, and demonstrators said they would hold vigils outside Ansah’s house unless she stepped down.
Interim leader of opposition Robin Lowe told parliament on Friday that there are three options left for the MEC chairperson which are to honourably resign, let the ruling party facilitate her resignation or relevant authorities should fire her.
First Deputy Speaker Madalitso Kazombo pointed out that the House could not proceed to debate the matter as standing orders do not allow to discuss people who cannot defend themselves in Parliament.
On the streets, immediate past vice president Saulos Chilima and MCP president Lazarus Chakwera joined the demonstrations and vowed not to relent until Ansah goes.
“We would like Justice Jane Ansah to leave office because as everybody is aware, the elections didn’t go well and we are not happy at all,” said Chilima, disclosing next week they are taking the protests to another level.
The MEC declared that Mutharika won re-election with 39 percent of the vote. Chakwera was second with 35 percent, followed by Chilima with 20 percent.
Chakwera and Chilima are challenging the election results in court, alleging ballot box stuffing and the use of correction fluid to change votes.
Ansah, who maintains her innocence, told local radio last week that she would resign only if the court ruled that the elections were fraudulent.
A hearing on the election dispute is expected to begin July 29.
MCP and UTM are accusing Ansah of mismanaging the recent election in which President Peter Mutharika won a second term.