Malawi: Mutharika Rules Out Firing Ansah As Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson

Protesters carry signs during a Jane Ansah solidarity march in Blantyre.
2 September 2019

President Peter Mutharika has ruled out firing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah as demanded by the opposition and rights activists, saying she has done nothing wrong.

President Mutharika greeted by MEC Chairperson Justice Jana Ansah SC at the inaguration ceremony at Kamuzu Stadium when he was declared winner of May 21 2019 elections-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

In a rare interview with an international broadcaster on Monday, Mutharika said the demands to have Ansah fired or force are to resign are misplaced.

"It is not my job to ask her to step down. The African Union, the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), UNDP, the US government all said the elections were fair, credible and transparent," said Mutharika.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) are organizing demonstrations countrywide to force Ansah resign following what they say were messy elections.

Ansah has unequivocally stated that she will not resign unless the court rules that there were irregularities in the elections..

Her contract with MEC expires in 2020. She is a judge at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Malawi.

Section 75(4) of the Constitution--the supreme law of the land--states that a member of MEC may be removed from office by the President on the recommendation of the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) on grounds of incapacity or incompetence in the performance of duties of that office.

Mutharika said he sees no logic in holding the anti-Jane Ansah protests when the issue is before the courts.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM leader Saulos Chilima are challenging the May 21 presidential election results in court. MEC declared President Peter Mutharika the winner in the hotly contested election on May 27 amid protests of irregularities.

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