Malawi: Ansah Tells Court She Has 'Lawful Mandate' to Continue Managing Malawi Elections

31 March 2020

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and the other commissioners have put their feet down, refusing to step down as recommended by the Public Appointments Committee of parliament.

Ansah: The authority to remove commissioners lies solely in the powers of the President

In a sworn statement filed to court, Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, says she is aware that as a MEC commissioner, she can be removed from office.

"... the authority to remove commissioners lies solely in the powers of the President as accorded to him by the Constitution of the Republic.

"Unless I resign or be removed by the President, I have the lawful mandate to continue performing the functions of the office of the commissioner of the Electoral Commission," she says in affidavits seen by Nyasa Times.

This is in response to State vice-president Saulos Chilima's filing in the courts to order her and the other commissioners removed from office following recommendations from the Constitutional Court and the Public Appointments Committee of parliament.

In the affidavits, Ansah says the commission is at the moment implementing the decision of the Constitutional Court to hold an election within 150 days from February 3, 2020 when the ruling was made.

"If this interim order is granted, it will disturb the implementation and it will put the commission in a situation which it will no longer be possible to comply with the court order," says Ansah.

Ansah says she appeared before the Public Appointments Committee of parliament for an inquiry although she was never given enough time to prepare for the inquiry and she was not given a copy of the inquiry findings.

During her appearance before Parliament's Public Appointments Committee (PAC) inquiry, Ansah said she sees no reason to tender her resignation because she believes she presided over a free, fair and credible election.

She said this is the reason MEC has appealed against the decision of the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the election and ordered a fresh election within 150 days from February 3.

Other commissioners are; Mary Nkosi, Elvey Mtafu, Moffat Banda, Yahaya M'madi, Linda Kunje, Jean Mathanga, the Reverent Clifford Baloyi and the Reverend Killion Mgawi.

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