Malawi: Ansah Back Use of Tippex in Malawi Polls - MEC Chair Defiant of 'Ansxit'

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika (file photo)
12 February 2020

Embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has said she is aware that people are baying for her blood to exit the electoral body - 'Ansxit' - for compromising herself and mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections but has backed the widespread use of the correctional fluid, Tippex, saying no law was broken.

Ansah in completely tone deaf performance before appearing for inquiry.-Photo by Alfred Chauwa, Nyasa Times Ansah: Tipp-Ex was used for positive purposes to capture correct voting figures.-Photo by Alfred Chauwa, Nyasa Times Kajawa and his deputy Rachel Mazombwe Zulu during Parliament's inquiry.-Photo by Alfred Chauwa, Nyasa Times

Ansah has said this in her appearance before the Constitutional Court sanctioned Parliament's Public Appointments Committee (PAC) inquiry to assess the competence of the electoral body.

Her appearance before the committee comes against a background of calls by Human Rights Defenders Commission (HRDC), through a series of nationwide demonstrations that at times turned ugly, for her to resign for allegedly presiding over a flawed electoral process last year.

"The electoral laws were not breached because of the use of Tippex, they were actually upheld because the correct figure was capture," Ansah said after she entered the inquiry room in a completely tone deaf perfomance, posing for photos in style.

She said in the past, when there were no computers, corrections were made manually and were accepted.

Ansah was quashing a Constitutional Court ruling which said that the irregularities and anomalies had been so widespread, systematic and grave that the integrity of the results had been seriously compromised.

The MEC chairperson also told the parliamentary committee that she allowed a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) election team to see her with their concerns before the results were announced.

She said the team was led by the party secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka and other people included Dowa west MP Richard Chimwendo Banda and lawyer Ayuba James.

"Ayuba even threatened me that if we went ahead to announce the results, there would be blood in the country," claimed Ansah.

She also said Chimwendo Banda repeated the same threats but they both later apologized and withdrew the threats.

MEC chairwomanalso denied allegations by the election auditors that MEC announced the poll results when only one-third of the result sheets were processed.

Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal,looked calm, composed and recollected in answering the question from the members of committee which want to find out if MEC is competent to hold fresh election in five months time.

The inquiry follows a February 3 2020 order of a five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election over irregularities and mandated Parliament to assess the commissioners' competences.

On Tuesday, commissioners Yahaya M'madi, Moffat Banda, Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga appeared before the committee at Parliament Building in Lilongwe. They followed in the footsteps of Mary Nkosi and Elvey Mtafu on Monday.

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