Malawi protesters close electoral commission offices

Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence, HRDC Leaders

Protesters led by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have sealed Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) offices as they continue to demand for the resignation of the commission’s chairperson Jane Ansah.

The demonstrators have shut down MEC offices in Zomba, Lilongwe and Blantyre where the commission’s headquarters are located.

In Lilongwe, the protests started with a low turnout due to rains but more people joined along the way to the MEC offices.

Addressing the audience, HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo said Malawians will not give up until justice prevails. He added that the closure of the MEC offices is a reminder to Ansah that MEC should be accountable to Malawians.

Mtambo continued to say that Malawians are counting down to the fresh elections and they want Ansah and the other MEC commissioners to resign to avoid messing up the forthcoming presidential election.

During the protests, the police and Malawi Defence Force officers provided security.

In Blantyre, HRDC southern region leader Masauko Thawe led the protestors in shutting down MEC offices after they marched from Kamuzu Stadium peacefully.

The HRDC has been calling for Ansah’s resignation for the past eight months.

Last week, the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe nullified the May 21 presidential elections and ordered the MEC to conduct fresh elections.

The commission has since appealed against the ruling at the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, Ansah told a parliamentary committee that she will only resign after the Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s ruling.