The Women’s chapter of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says labeling demonstrations against Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah as a gender issue undermines the fight for gender equality.
Speaking at a press briefing organised by the female rights defenders at Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) offices Lilongwe, Chairperson of the chapter Dorothy Ngoma said questions about Ansah’s management of the May 21 elections are not tantamount to violence against her as a woman but rather seeking accountability for the role she played in the electoral process.
Ngoma added that any suggestion made that Ansah should not be held accountable goes against the very essence of women’s rights, the essence of gender equality and therefore undermining their struggle for liberation as women.
“Before being women we are first citizens of this country and the fact that we are going to streets doesn’t mean that we should die or steal but as a country we need our living standards to change, we hope that if Ansah resigns the one who will take her position will do his or her work accountable, because we believe that our vote means a lot,” she explained
Ngoma said that women are the ones who are affected most during the demonstrations more especially those who are doing different businesses to earn a living and asked Ansah to have mercy and resign if she has humanity in her.
“Ansah should not undermine the efforts of thousands women because they contributed and participated in the political process as politicians, voters, activists, planners among others,” she said.
Ngoma reminded fellow women that the struggle for the fulfilment of the human rights of women includes every woman regardless of their socio-economic status, religion, age and marital status.
She therefore urged Malawians to continue calling for the resignation of Ansah by standing together and respecting the dignity and the right of every woman and man as called for under the Constitution of Malawi.