MEC’s Ansah issues ‘stern warning’ to perpetrators of poll violence

Written by  MBC Online

Justice Jane Ansah, chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission on Monday issued a stern warning to would-be perpetrators of violence during the January 30 parliamentary poll in Lilongwe south constituency and Liwawadzi ward in Balaka north constituency on March 5.

MEC Chairperson Ansah: Issues stern warning to would-be violence perpetrators. MEC Chairperson Ansah: Issues stern warning to would-be violence perpetrators.
20
January

 “The Commission will not tolerate any acts that will jeopardize the process of holding a free, fair, credible and peaceful election.


“Anyone found engaging in such acts will be barred from participating in the electoral process. If he is a candidate, he will be disqualified,” Ansah told a presser in Lilongwe.


The Lilongwe south poll was postponed due to the death of one of the contestants, Agnes Penemulungu who was a UTM candidate during the May 21 elections.


Later, the Commission had planned to hold the election on November 5 last year, but it was also postponed on October 29 because of violence and intimidation that characterised the campaign period.


Ansah said following this postponement, the Commission engaged stakeholders including contesting candidates, chiefs, the Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) and the secretary generals of contesting political three parties through the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD).

 

“Everyone expressed concern and deep regret with the violence that marred the process. They all assured the Commission that they will engage their subjects on the need to maintain law, peace and order during elections."

 

The MEC Chief said all chiefs in Lilongwe South Constituency wrote the Commission, urging it to conduct the by election as soon as practically possible. This letter was received by the Commission on January 5.

 

 In their letter, which was also copied to the District Commissioner for Lilongwe and contesting candidates, Ansah said the Chief reiterated that continued lack of parliamentary representation in the constituency has negatively affected development.


“Apart from the Chief, the MCP candidate also wrote the Commission, pleading with us to hold the by-election in Lilongwe South Constituency without further delay, citing several reasons behind such a call.”

 

She added: “The process shall resume from where we stopped, there will be no registration of new voters or nomination of candidates. In accordance with electoral laws, the official campaign will end at 6am on 28 January.”

 

On the other hand, Liwawadzi ward in Balaka North Constituency ward fell vacant following the death of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Councillor Thomson Thomas Bwanali on October 25 last year.

 

The MEC Chairperson said the Commission has planned to hold a by-election in the ward on 5th March to fill the existing vacancy.

 

“The Commission is committed to delivering its mandate as provided for in the law. The Commission appreciates the roles played by various electoral stakeholders in achieving this. It is our sincere expectation that we will a join hands to make the forthcoming by-elections a success,” she said.

 

The HRDC, joined by the opposition UTM and MCP, has been holding violent demonstrations demanding that Ansah should resign as MEC Chairperson, accusing her of mismanaging the presidential poll.

 

But she has vehemently refused to thrown in the towel, saying she will wait for the court verdict next month after UTM and MCP petitioned the court to nullify the presidential result.

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