Jane Ansah has for the past eight months been the most divisive character in public office today. For a good reason, too.
But her insistence to hold office withstanding, her time at the Electoral Commission is over.
Much of that later, but it’s really been fascinating to watch Ansah and her commissioners—after damning verdicts the court and Parliament—insisting they have the moral and legal authority to hold on to public office.
Authority to hold public office, any office, is derived from the people, however.
With exception of DPP supporters, the majority of the citizenry, civil society and political parties have made it abundantly clear they don’t want Ansah to continue.
To use a football analogy, she is the referee no team says doesn’t have to take the whistle because she is biased—but insists to officiate a crucial match.
And from a point of law, which should resonate more with Ansah, the February 3 determination by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) landed a fatal blow to any illusions that MEC has any legitimacy, whatsoever, from point of law.
Ansah and her fellow commissioners committed atrocious mistakes in elections management.
And so incensed were the panel of five judges with the commission’s conduct to the extent they ordered Parliament to immediately review the commissioner’s tenability of office and nobody was surprised when the parliamentary inquiry—a Constitutional process, lest we forget, recommended the firing of Ansah and her colleagues.
If anything, the revelation by one of the commissioners, Mary Nkosi—like Ansah, a senior church pastor— that some commissioners were sidelined on crucial decision was a shock. The most devastating part of the testimony was that even in announcing the results, commissioners did not append their signatures first in approval but rushed and made the others sign the results later.
To date, Ansah has never responded to this allegation. But both Nkosi and Ansah, continue to hold on to office.
For Nkosi, we know why—she told the public inquiry (she remarkably thought was private) that her silence was owed to the fact that she wanted to safeguard her benefits.
While the ConCourt believed that Ansah doesn’t deserve the office, it couldn’t fire her. Parliament came to the same excruciating conclusions on her credentials, but could only recommend her firing to the President.
Now the President happens to be a former law professor, but now helplessly partisan in the current affair—and after being a beneficiary to MEC’s floundering, is out rightly biased and although he swore to defend the Constitution, will not defend Parliament or the courts.
Neither would the President grant the civil society and millions of protesting Malawians their wish as in his book, doing so, will be tantamount to handing his distractors victory on the silver platter.
But what goes around, surely comes back around!
The same law that has provided a veneer of protection to a commission that is bereft of any other legitimate claim to office, has called time on MEC’s tenure.
Thanks to MEC’s fixation with attempting to overturn the ConCourt ruling at all costs—including spending an ungodly K600 million of our taxes on some South African lawyers—finally MEC has dropped its ball, as the saying goes.
See, in their quest to eat the cake and still have it—still pursue appeal and pretend to comply with the February 3 ruling—MEC last week came up with an elections calendar, announcing 2nd July, 2020 as new elections date.
It turned out, however, to be a terrible mistake. MEC’s mandate runs out in June. In July, the commissioners will neither find any legal or moral reason to hold on to office. Trying they have—and may—but the current MEC will not preside over the next presidential elections, it’s now in black and white. It’s the end of the road—Cul De sac if you want.