UTM Party president Saulos Chilima has endorsed vigils organised by civil society organisations (CSOs) on July 4 and 5 to press for the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Jane Ansah.
Addressing rallies at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre and Mponda Primary School Ground in Zomba yesterday and on Saturday, respectively, Chilima said UTM Party supports peaceful protests and people should not fear as they await the court ruling on the May 21 Tripartite Elections that were marred with irregularities.
“Don’t be afraid of arrests. It is your right as long as you do it peacefully. Time is ripe and nigh for her to step down from office,” he said.
CSOs, under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), are this week scheduled to stage vigils in the country’s main cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba, calling for the resignation of Ansah whom they accuse of messing up the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
After marching on set routes in the four cities, protesters are planning to hold vigils at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, MEC offices in Blantyre, and at civic offices in Zomba and Mzuzu.
This is not the first time Chilima has encouraged UTM Party supporters to go out and demonstrate. Prior to the June 20 nationwide demonstrations, the UTM Party leader also made a similar call at a rally in Lilongwe; and he and his Malawi Congress Party counterpart, Lazarus Chakwera marched with the demonstrators in Lilongwe.
Last week, the MEC chairperson said she would not resign her post despite persistent calls for her to step down.
During the Njamba rally, Chilima hinted at alleged abuse of State funds at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and Blantyre Water Board (BWB).
He appealed for patience, saying he will reveal figures of the alleged funds abuse by Sunday next week.
Chilima said: “I want to start by saying that this week’s demonstrations are aimed at pushing for the removal of the MEC chair. But to RBM and BWB watch out, I will lay your secrets bare in a matter of days.”
During the Zomba rally, Chilima said UTM Party is focused on fighting poverty and improving the well-being of Malawians.
He said the country is failing to develop due to corrupt and nepotistic leaders.
“These kind of leaders, their focus is on enriching themselves not improving the welfare of the citizenry,” he said.
In her remarks, the party’s secretary general Patricia Kaliati said the rallies were well-patronised because people are not happy with the election results.
Yesterday, UTM Party welcomed into its fold veteran politicians Nicholas Kachingwe and Samuel Kaphuka.
UTM Party has been holding rallies to thank supporters for voting for it during the polls.
During yesterday’s rally, Chilima said the party will hold its next rally in Mangochi this Sunday.