Civil society organisations (CSOs) say they are planning to hold demonstrations in the two constituencies in Lilongwe where Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) postponed by-election due to lack of funds.
The CSOs have also made a fresh call for MEC chairperson Jane Ansah to resign from her position, saying they have lost confidence in her leadership over perceptions of bias, among other things.
MEC postponed by-elections initially set for June 6 in Lilongwe City South East and Lilongwe Msozi North constituencies and Mayani North Ward in Dedza North constituency and Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe City West constituency.
The CSOs said in a statement they will stand firm and hold the demonstrations if MEC proceeds not to hold the by-elections on the dates set for the same.
In an interview yesterday, Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence said the plan is to hold demonstrations soon after June if MEC does not comply with the holding of the by-elections.
He said: “After June, we will mobilise citizens who are being denied representation to express their feelings on the conduct of MEC.”
And in a joint statement co-signed by Billy Mayaya and McDonald Sembereka, the CSOs accuse MEC of deliberately obstructing the holding of by-elections to the advantage of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The CSOs also said they have lost confidence in Ansah whom they accuse of advancing partisan interests.
Reads the CSOs’ statement: “We have lost confidence in Justice Jane Ansah’s ability to carry out the mandate of MEC without bias and undue influence from outside forces.
“This position will in our view not only severely compromise these by-elections, but also the upcoming Parliamentary and Presidential Elections [PPE] in 2019.”
The CSOs said they will not relent on their calls for the resignation of Ansah.
But MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa yesterday said the electoral body was geared up to hold the by-elections within this financial year, but could not proceed due to lack of funds.
He said: “MEC came out clear that the postponement came about because Treasury said it would not be able to release funding for the by-elections and the Ministry of Finance has also come out clearly to say that the money for the by-elections was channelled to other life-saving activities.”
Mwafulirwa wondered how the CSOs expect MEC to administer the by-elections when it has no funding at the moment.
Last week, MEC also came under fire from members of Parliament (MPs) over the postponement of the by-elections in the two constituencies and wards. n