Patel, an accomplished academic who has extensively researched and published on elections and democracy, was reacting to calls from Public Affairs Committee (PAC) chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota who argued that Ansah needed to resign because “she has lost public trust”.
Patel told a local newspaper: “I don’t buy that argument. I don’t think that the explanation is good enough for Dr Ansah to resign. How do they define or measure public trust?
“Have they done a survey or they are just going by the views of the opposition and some civil society organisations that are demonstrating? If they said the MEC chairperson had violated some laws, I would have agreed with their argument.”
On Wednesday, the Malawi Law Society (MLS) also said says there was no legal requirement for Ansah to resign following demands by rights activists and the opposition over her declaration of the May 21 presidential results, declaring President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika as the winner.
MLS said this in its July 12 statement titled 'Management of Electoral Complaints and Determination of Electoral Results Concerning Presidential Elections 2019' addressed to President Arthur Peter Mutharika, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM party presidents Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima respectively, MEC Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) leader Timothy Mtambo, which was signed MLS honorary secretary Martha Kauonde.
“The Law Society notes that there is no legal requirement for the Electoral Commission Chairperson to resign should there be a dispute over an electoral outcome taken under Part IX and/or Part XI of the PPEA,” reads the statement.
The MLS called “upon the organisers and supporters of the anti-MEC Chairperson demonstrations to deeply reflect on the value of such demonstrations while the substance of the subject matter remains a legal dispute being managed through the courts.
“No doubt, there is a right to demonstrate but we request the organisers and supporters to deeply reflect on this especially when on the two occasions so far, such demonstrations have led to destruction of property in circumstances which the nation is yet to get full information on”.
Meanwhile, MLS has thrown its weight behind calls for dialogue over the current state of the nation, but was quick to mention that such negotiations are held for the mutual benefit of Malawians.