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UTM, MCP fired up against Malawi electoral body….Call for public rage on March 27

UTM and MCP jointly held press conference

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 urged Malawians to go on rage of absent from work against embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Dr. Jane Ansah with commissioners.

The rage is slated for Friday, March 27, 2020 across the country in a bid to force Ansah and commissioners to step down.

The parties told the news conference in the capital Lilongwe that rage is one of the ways to force commissioners to resign from their positions.

The coalition disclosed that its engaging its legal team to challenge the commission’s stubbornness despite being found guilty of mismanaging May 21, 2019 presidential polls.

Dr. Chidanti Malunga and Ezekiel Ching’oma UTM and MCP Publicity Secretary and deputy publicity Secretary respectively co-hosted the press conference.

Below is the full joint UTM and MCP statement:

MCP/ UTM AND PARTNERS JOINT STATEMENT ON THE CONDUCT OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

We have heard with dismay the decision taken by Justice Jane Ansah and the current Commissioners of the Electoral Commission to remain in office and administer the forthcoming presidential elections.

As you are aware, we successfully challenged the Commission’s declaration of Prof. Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party as the duly elected President of the Republic of Malawi before the Constitutional Court. In its lengthy and well-reasoned judgment, the Constitutional Court held that Justice Ansah and her fellow Commissioners, together with senior management of the Commission grossly mismanaged the administration of the 2019 elections which maladministration fatally affected the integrity of the elections.

In its judgment, the Court enumerated a litany of gross irregularities and ultimately questioned Justice Ansah’s and her fellow Commissioners’ competence to continue holding their respective offices.

To that end, the Court ordered that the Public Appointments Committee of the National Assembly institute an inquiry into their competence to continue holding office.

As we are all aware, the findings of the parliamentary inquiry were unequivocal in their conclusion that Justice Ansah and her fellow Commissioners fell well short of the standard expected of the holders of the high offices they occupy.

The Committee recommended that they be relieved of their duties and that new Commissioners be appointed to lead the C of senior public officers – particularly those charged with the solemn midwifery responsibility of giving effect to Malawians’ choice of their leadership.

This self-serving and arrogant attitude towards State institutions established as a bulwark against capricious behavior of members of the Executive is a gratuitous assault on this nation’s constitutionalism. It is also very dangerous.

This nation has already paid too dearly for the Commission’s incompetence. How much more should Malawians suffer for Justice Ansah to realise that this nation shall be better off without her and her fellow Commissioners clinging on to their positions? The nation surely must move on.

It has been proven in Court and in the National Assembly that the Commission, in its current composition, does not have the legitimacy and competence to manage elections the outcome of which is going to command acceptability to all sections of society.

Considering too what this country has endured for us to reach this far, it is extremely disappointing and sad that Justice Ansah still thinks that she should lead the Commission in administering the forthcoming fresh elections.

It speaks volumes of the moral content of her and her Commissioners that they would insist on presiding over the election of the next President and Vice-President of this country when it is quite clear that the trust and confidence of the nation in their ability to do so has long disappeared.

Jointly, we have resolved to do the following to force Justice Ansah and her fellow Commissioner to resign:

1. We have christened 27th March, 2020 The Day of Rage. Since we cannot hold street protests due to the threat of the Covid-19 virus, we are calling on all our supporters to stay away from work on Friday.

Just for one day, we must remind Prof Mutharika and Justice Ansah that we are tired of them taking us for granted.

They do not have power. Power is with the people of Malawi. And the people of Malawi want Electoral Commissioners they can trust.

Let us show our rage on Friday, 27th March, 2020.

2. We have instructed our lawyers to commence a constitutional challenge to the continued presence of Justice Ansah and the current Commissioners in the Commission.

We shall be asking the Constitutional Court to determine whether it is lawful for Justice Ansah to continue holding her position when the Court and Parliament have clearly stated that she is incompetent.

Fellow Malawians, if you ever doubted Prof Mutharika’s resolve to remain in power by hook or crook, through legal or illegal means, his recent actions must have erased any such doubt. His order for the arrest of the leaders of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition is one example.

His clandestine meetings with shady characters from the Middle East is another. His arrogant refusal to fire Justice Jane Ansah and her fellow Commissioners whose performance was found wanting by two organs of the State, the Constitutional Court and the National Assembly, is yet another example.

His inexplicable refusal to assent to bills passed by the National Assembly, paving way for fresh elections is also another example.

His unlawful attempts to extend tribal influence to the solemn task of state defence is another sad and tragic example of this beleaguered President’s attempt to lord over us irrespective of what the law stipulates.

We must fight back. We must fight back together to ensure that this country does not recede back to a dictatorship. I thank you for your attention.

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