That Jane Ansah still the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission—undoubtedly the most important today—yet she has zero shred of legitimacy in the eyes of the public, the courts of law and Parliament defies logic.
The Supreme Court judges, whom Ansah counts as her peers, just last week confirmed what the whole nation has known for a bit some time now—that Ansah mismanaged the elections last May, and that those elections were nothing but a sham.
The Supreme Court also confirmed what the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) said early this year, that Ansah and her colleagues on the commission, not only were they incompetent at their job, but after being declared so by the ConCourt, they had no business filing an appeal on the matter as if they had partisan interests in the case.
Don’t they? Perhaps that should be the question.
It’s disheartening, though, that the shoddy appeal came at an ungodly cost for the public. A bill to some little known South African lawyers alone, amounts to K600 million.
Then add to the fact that the Supreme Court ordered MEC to meet all costs of the opposition and itself on the case, Ansah’s blundering is the most expensive any public officer has been permitted in recent memory.
That cost, by the way, must always include the damage to the economy in the aftermath of the disputed elections, the value of all property damaged, lives lost and all else in between.
Had Ansah left office when the opposition accused her of bias, all the protests and subsequent damage could’ve been averted.
But Ansah hardened her heart. She vowed she will clear her name and promised us the court will validate her now clearly delusional claim that she had done a stellar job.
And if the courts ordered otherwise, she promised us on national television, she will resign. But the courts didn’t exonerate her. The courts, actually, ordered that she should be fired.
But instead of accepting the decision of the court, like a responsible citizen, let alone a senior member of the Judiciary, Ansah has shown Lady Justice the proverbial middle finger.
She has not only refused to go, but continues to undermine the courts at every opportunity.
The biggest way she does this is by holding to office which the court, for all intents and purposes, say she shouldn’t be anywhere near. Then, she, inadvertently, undermines the whole judiciary by showing us that our judges can be callous liars when it suits them: She lectured us in an interview with ZBS’ Joab Frank Chakhaza that elections cases are not appealable; when she lost the ConCourt case, she was the first to launch an appeal; she said she will resign if she loses the case, today, she is refusing to resign or even answer questions from journalists; she said elections will be held on July 2, after realising that her contract would have expired by then, she conveniently told political parties, she has realised that only Parliament can set the date for elections by law.
But let us not call Ansah a woman of contradictions, because these are not inherent contradictions but a clear pattern of shoddy behaviour aimed at undermining justice. It’s clear, for whatever motivation, Ansah is hell-bent on overturning the decision of the Supreme Court and ConCourt, and also ensure that she, and she alone, presides over the presidential elections, if at all.
Such is not behaviour motivated by high devotion to duty, but something sinister, darker and malicious. That behaviour is devoid of any love for the country or empathy for its people. That behaviour is egotistical and consistent with partisanship that MEC has displayed since those elections when the commission even failed to address concerns of the opposition
It’s behaviour consistent with a commission that asked auditors to doctor audit of election results being contested in court.
Ansah feels she has unfinished business at MEC. She acts and speaks as if she has a particular candidate she will go heaven and earth, fight any battle for, and die trying if need be, to get elected as President of this country. What happens to the law, trust in our democracy or her own reputation in the process, long ceased to matter.