Malawians hold more protests and threaten to move to state house

Thousands of Malawians on Friday, took to the streets for another protest against their government, and force Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Jane Ansa to resign who for allegedly failing to properly manage the May 21, 2019 general elections.

The protesters led by a grouping of Human Rights Activists known as Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) accuse Ansa of going ahead to declare President Peter Mutharika, winner of the Presidential race despite of 147 rigging related complaints raised by opposition parties and other electoral stakeholders.

They are also accusing the government of intimidating the human rights defenders through arrests to stop them from advocating for transparency and accountability on the elections case. The blame on government follows a recent arrest of two senior members of the coalition on fraud related charges.

The protesters, some carrying placards with different discounted massages against Ansa held their demonstrations In Lilongwe, the country’s capital city, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba regional cities.

“In the face of ever-growing intimidation, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition promises to remain stubborn against such vices as impunity and corruption,” said Timothy Mtambo, the coalition Chairperson during presentation of their petition at the office of the President and Cabinet.

He said if Ansa is not resigning, the demonstrations will from next week be held every Tuesday and Friday for three consecutive weeks until she steps down.
The protesters, however, instead of going on the streets, they will be holding vigils at the State House and President’s state lodges in the major cities to influence President Mutharika fire the MEC Chairperson.

“We will be calling the appointing authority to exercise his prerogative and relieve Dr Jane Ansa and her entire commission of their duties for betraying electorate during the 21st May 2019 tripartite elections,” said Mtambo who warned “Should you refuse to resign we will continue with the demonstration every Tuesday and Friday of every week.”
The protests, however, went violent in some cities as unidentified protesters burned a house of one of the MEC Commissioners, broke and store goods in a wholesale, and burn a government facility.

So far, the demonstrators have held three national wide protests against Ansah but the commission’s Chairperson has publicly refused to resign.

Ansah, who is one of the Judges at the Country’s Supreme Court of Appeal, said she resolved all the147 elections complaints, mostly involving alteration of vote figures using correction fluid known as TIPEX before announcing the results.

Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Saulos Chilima of UTM are challenging the results in court , and the two hope what they hope is massive rigging evidence presented to the Judges will lead the court nullify the results.

President Mutharika, has however, described these protests as an attempt by the civil society and collaboration with opposition parties’ leaders to overthrow his government, and has challenged to deal with the demonstrators on the streets.

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