At best, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah’s statement early this week that her body does not have power to set a date for the fresh elections, but Parliament, is symptomatic of the malaise that has blighted the electoral body. At worst, the dithering after the same Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had earlier set the holding of elections on July 2 2020, is vindication of its unparalleled ineptness and ham-handedness. Either way, Ansah—for it is at her that the buck ends in MEC—is throwing spanners in the works. But it is not strange that she is doing this. The jury has it all out that she is in a state of capture. This is the reason in the elections case saga, MEC has hit the wall, not once or twice but six times and counting. MEC has lost all cases it presented for court’s determination.
The High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) declared MEC incompetent and not fit to manage the fresh presidential elections. Parliament, during its sitting after the ConCourt ruling, also found MEC incompetent. Not satisfied with the ConCourt ruling, MEC sought the position of the highest court in the land—the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal (MSCA)—on the matter. MSCA, where Ansah is a judge, upheld the lower court’s verdict. The judgement by the seven-man panel of MSCA justices must have been a humiliating indictment on a fellow justice of appeal. But that is beside the point.
In its confused state, and not knowing where to go and possibly how to get there, the same MEC which had earlier rebuffed Parliament’s decision to hold the fresh elections on May 21, makes an about-turn and declares that Parliament should set the date for elections. What more evidence does Ansah need to convince her that she is at her wit’s end and unquestionably incompetent? But it is understandable why she can’t smell the coffee.
Ansah is not serving any agenda in the fresh elections case saga other than pleasing and appeasing her appointing authority. She is in a state of capture, literally. She is pandering to the wisdom that one good turn deserves another. But she is doing this fraudalently and at the expense of taxpayers who will foot the bill for her brazen insolence and impertinence. President Peter Mutharika appointed her MEC chair and in return she herded MEC to retain him in power in the annulled May 19 2019 Tripartite Election. Mutharika is still at plot number one today because of an incompetent MEC with Ansah at the helm. This is what the High Court and MSCA have ably proved beyond reasonable doubt. MEC and Mutharika are joined together from head to toe in a strange and unholy agenda schemed to miscarriage the rule of law. This is the kind of perversion of rule of law and arrogance Malawians must stand up against at all costs.
It is not that Ansah is blind to her unsavory behaviour. It is simply that she has nowhere to turn to but the same devil she knows. When you are on the wrong side of things, it does not matter who sides you. At least she can find some solace and comfort in this devil.
MEC is trying to help Mutharika stay in power for as long as he wants. That is what Mutharika wants. It suits his narrative and scheme of things. This is very clear from his pronouncements that he won the 2019 elections fair and square. In the long run it is neither MEC nor Parliament that will decide when the country will hold the fresh elections. It is Mutharika. He has this delusion that he can make the country dance to his tune. So far it seems working. But just how one can still hold one’s head high when everybody except those you helped to put in power want you out, is beyond comprehension. It behooves all patriotic Malawians to never relent in ensuring MEC—whether with the current crop of commissioners or others—does not mess up elections whether or not and whenever fresh elections will be held.