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Malawi: Activists take to streets in post-poll protest

Amid tight security provided by both the police and the army, thousands of angry but peaceful Malawian demonstrators marched through the country’s major cities on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah.Dancing and placard-carrying protesters, led by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HDRC), are accused the MEC chairperson of mismanaging the 21 May general elections whose results gave incumbent President Peter Mutharika a “fraudulent” victory, according to opposition Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera’s accusations.

Supreme Court of Appeal judge Ansah has denied the charges, saying that the polls were “free, fair and credible.”

Due to this, she would only leave her MEC office if the current case in which Chakwera has dragged her and Mutharika to court ruled against her, she added.

Mutharika has also refused to dismiss Ansah from her MEC position because “it’s not my job” to dismiss her.

With this stand, Mutharika and Ansah have infuriated the demonstrators – with the HRDC vowing that the protests, now in their fourth month, would continue until the officials leaves MEC.

“Malawians are saying that they don’t want Ansah to head the MEC, along with her fellow commissioners, because of their mismanaging the polls. They have lost the confidence of Malawians.

“The only thing Ansah can do to bring the country back to normalcy is for her to leave the electoral body,” HRDC’s Northern Region Head Happy Mhango said while marching in Mzuzu, the region’s biggest city.

“And if she left today, the demonstrations would stop immediately,” an angry Mhango, at the head of the three-day marches initially set to end on Friday, said.

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