MEC headquarters 'sealed off'

MEC head office sealed off

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) on Thursday sealed off offices of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) headquarters in Blantyre as a last-ditch attempt to force Jane Ansah to step down as its chairperson for failing to manage the May 21st presidential election, nullified by the Constitutional court.

The marchers started from Kamuzu upper stadium with a handful of people but they picked up demonstrators along the way.

At clocktower the Malawi Defence Force blocked the procession from going into the Central Business District where they had wanted to pick up more sympathetisers to the cause and then re-route towards their main MEC offices.

There was heavy presence of military personnel carrying weapons which one of them said were cocked and ready to fire.

Marching on streets of Blantyre
Marching on streets of Blantyre

“This is a live weapon you do not want to come close,” said one soldier as one marcher attempted to draw close.

HRDC Blantyre chapter chairperson Masauko Thawe addressing journalists and a few of the representative said the march had been successful and it was a continuation saying they will not stop.

"All we need is for Jane Ansah to resign and now we have included all the Commissioners because they have proven to be incompetent, it is the court which has proven that," adding, the seal off was symbolic because the law does not allow them to do so.

More marchers
The Malawians who want Justice Jane Ansah out

"What we are trying to mean here is that no one should get in or out as long as they are not resigning, we need people who have the public interest at heart," he said.

Thawe pointed out that they have set up strategies like monitoring the MEC offices daily till all the Commissioners including CEO Sam Alfandika resign.

Khumbo Phiri, director of finance at MEC said he was sent to receive a petition: “I haven’t received a petition, which I was supposed to give to the higher offices and you have seen yourself that they said the petition was given a long time ago.”

The demonstrators later braved the rains on their way back and some were seen dancing saying they had achieved what they wanted. engaged people in the streets to find out their thoughts on the demonstrations and they expressed disappointment saying it is crippling their business and way of life.

Emmanuel Mbeta who is involved with SOSOSO buses said MEC should accept they failed in their duties in handling the elections and Ansah should step down for things to at least return to normalcy.

Mbeta said their families are suffering as business is slow and they are failing to provide for them.

Vendors at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital had to abandon their places of trade in fear of demonstrators looting their merchandise as it has been the case in previous outings but it was mainly peaceful march.