Pressure mounts on Malawi electoral boss

APA-Lilongwe (Malawi)

Pressure is mounting on Ms. Jane Ansah, the head of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to step down after she was accused by the opposition of gross misconduct during last month's general elections.

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has issued a statement on Sunday announcing that demonstrations under its auspices will be held on June 20 in a bid to force her down.

 Ms. Ansah has refused to budge, insisting that the only authority capable of removing her is current President Peter Mutharika.

According to the itinerary of the HRDC, demonstrations will be organised in the capital Lilongwe, the second city Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba.

HRDC chief activists Timothy Mtambo, Gift Trapence and Billy Mayaya accused Ansah of unrealistically clinging onto her job despite failing to ensure the integrity of the May 21 elections which were riddled with malpractices.

Mtambo went even further to call for the resignation of the MEC in their entirety because they have to bear collective responsibility for the flaws of last month's controversial exercise.

During the June 20 protest in Lilongwe, HRDC activists will deliver a petition to the authorities indicating lack of public trust and confidence in the MEC.

HRDC had written to Ansah stating a supposed distrust from the public about her leadership of the MEC.

Law enforcement agents dispersed thousands of opposition supporters who gathered at a compound housing the offices of the president and other government departments in Lilongwe last Tuesday, and allegedly became violent.

The protesters wanted President Mutharika to step down following the May 27 elections that they say were allegedly rigged in his favour.

Mutharika narrowly beat main rival Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party but the opposition is disputing the results announced by the country's electoral body.

The MCP and other opposition parties are claiming that there were irregularities in the conduct of the poll, including the existence of altered polling station results sheets.


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