Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has organised a protest march in Blantyre this Wednesday in solidarity with embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah who is facing resignation calls from some sections of society.
Speaking in Blantyre on Monday, the women, under the banner of Forum for Concerned Women in Malawi said Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, was being persecuted for being a woman and they want the “violence against her to come to an end”.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Navicha and chief director in the Public Sector Reforms Management Unit Seodi White, who is also chairperson of the forum, led at least 100 women who gathered in Blantyre.
Said Navicha: “Sexist and degrading statements against Dr Jane Ansah is degrading to all women of Malawi. We know that those calling for her resignation are doing so because she is a woman.
“As women of Malawi, we cannot continue to watch in silence. We will rise up and march in solidarity with her.”
On her part, White said women were disappointed with the way Ansah was being “humiliated, insulted and castigated” and they felt what was happening was a gender issue.
She said: “This is violence against women. It is gender-based violence and we feel the forms of violence that have been perpetrated against her name are forms of violence that have been perpetrated against all Malawian women.
“Dr Jane Ansah will not fall. From today all women in Malawi are Jane Ansahs. We, therefore, demand an apology from organisers of the demonstrators, enough is enough, we have been insulted a lot.”
But Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence, whose coalition organised the demonstrations, said the women should refrain from abusing the gender card.
“If something is wrong it is wrong. It does not matter whether the one responsible is a man or woman. But anyway, it is their constitutional right to demonstrate. For us, it is not because Dr Ansah is a woman, that is immaterial because we are looking at her professional conduct,” he said.
The meeting was attended by several high-profile Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) women, including secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey, former Cabinet minister Cecilia Chazama, Esther Mcheka Chilenje and Etinor Koloviko.
Ansah is facing resignation calls for allegedly messing up the May 21 Tripartite Elections.