A 10-Point Analysis of How Jane Ansah Was Victimized by the Malawi Justice System

Ansah Malawi

When activist Timothy Mtambo organized violent nationwide demonstrations to force Jane Ansah, former Chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), to resign, many gullible Malawians were convinced that Jane had indeed tampered with the 2019 presidential elections.

However, in the spirit of “the truth shall set me free,” Jane Ansah stood her ground, vowing that she would step down after the court’s ruling on the matter.

Jane Ansah indeed tendered her resignation as the Chair of MEC after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the Constitutional Court’s verdict that MEC, under her tutelage, was incompetent and negligent in managing the 2019 presidential elections.

However, four years down the line, many Malawians have woken up from their deep slumber and now give Jane Ansah the benefit of the doubt, considering that she was probably just a victim of miscarriage of justice by our incompetent and biased courts of law.

In this discourse, an attempt is made to outline how and why Jane Ansah was legally victimized by our justice system.

1. Similar Election Results

First, the results of the 2020 presidential elections were similar to those of the controversial 2019 presidential elections. Statistically, the aggregate votes attained by Chakwera and Chilima in the 2019 presidential race were more than the sum of votes from Peter Mutharika and Atupele Muluzi. The trend stubbornly remained the same in the 2020 fresh presidential election.

2. Lack of Evidence

Second, both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal confirmed that there was no evidence that the 2019 presidential elections were rigged. It was therefore surprising that the court annulled the 2019 presidential election purely based on the mere presence of electoral irregularities that are usually prevalent in all elections across the globe.

3. Complainant’s Concession

Third, during the cross-examination, the main complainant, Dr. Saulos Chilima, conceded that there was no evidence that the use of Tippex and other electoral irregularities affected his own votes. It was ironic to hear complaints about irregularities that did not affect their own votes.

4. Contradictory Judgments

Fourth, the court declared that MEC was incompetent and negligent in managing the 2019 presidential elections, yet it endorsed the 2019 parliamentary and local government elections managed by the same MEC. This is a total contradiction.

5. Retrospective Law Application

Fifth, the 50% + 1 majority rule was introduced in 2020, yet the court faulted MEC for declaring Prof. Peter Mutharika a winner of the 2019 presidential election based on the first-past-the-post majority. Obviously, the law could not have been applied retrospectively.

6. Constitutional Anomalies

Sixth, the 2020 Constitutional Court introduced constitutional anomalies in an attempt to victimize MEC and Jane Ansah in particular. Currently, the constitutional term “majority” is equivocally and concurrently applied as 50% + 1 for presidential elections but first past the post for both parliamentary and local government elections. Another adverse effect of the erroneous 2020 Constitutional Court verdict is that by giving President Chakwera a five-year term from a presidential by-election, most members of parliament will be in office for over five years in violation of their constitutionally mandated term.

7. Ultra Vires Action

Seventh, in an attempt to victimize MEC and Jane Ansah, the 2020 Constitutional Court acted ultra vires by overriding the decision of the apex court on the interpretation of the word “majority” that appears in the Malawi Constitution. The 2020 Concourt erred by committing an argumentum ad dictionarium fallacy, simply pulling the definition of the term “majority” from Black’s Law Dictionary without considering its constitutional context.

8. Illogical Verdict

Eighth, Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda delivered an illogical verdict that the existence of an inquorate MEC that presided over the 2020 fresh presidential elections did not affect the legitimacy and legality of the results of the said elections. How can a poisoned tree produce good and harmless fruits? Obviously, an inquorate MEC had no constitutional mandate to declare Dr. Lazarus Chakwera the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

9. Disregarded Endorsements

Ninth, the court disregarded the official endorsements by political party monitors, local, and international observers that the 2019 tripartite general elections were conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner.

10. Misguided Fresh Elections

Lastly, the court ordered fresh presidential elections instead of a re-run. This was a deliberate move. In a re-run, electoral coalitions, new presidential candidates, and new voters were not supposed to take part in the elections. If no presidential candidate attained 50% + 1 of the cast votes in the first round, the top two candidates were supposed to contest in the subsequent run-off elections.


In conclusion, as final arbiters, the Malawi Judiciary is implored to execute justice without fear or favor. As for Jane Ansah, we continuously and empathetically feel that she was victimized because of politics and the gullibility of most Malawians. Fortunately, many Malawians are slowly rising from their deep slumber. We, therefore, wish Jane Ansah all the best as she stands as a parliamentary aspirant in Dowa. She is indeed proving to us that the secret to life is to fall down once and quickly get up twice.


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