Malawi Protesters Shutter Electoral Commission Offices

BLANTYRE, MALAWI - Protesters in Malawi have shut down offices of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in 10 districts in an attempt to force all commissioners to resign.

The move comes 10 days after the Constitutional Court nullified last Mays presidential elections because of widespread" irregularities and ordered new elections. But commissioners have appealed the ruling and are refusing to step down.

In Blantyre, protesters used steel-iron chains and huge locks to seal the gate of the main entrance to MEC headquarters.

Some said they will resign only if the Supreme Court of Appeal faults them, while others said they will not resign at all.

But HRDCs Thawe says mechanisms are in place to safeguard the shutdown.

"We are going to monitor each and every day. You come, you check, you will see people here monitoring. And we are not stopping here. Its a continuous demonstration until we see these commissioners including the CEO [Chief Elections Officer] resign, Thawe said.

Mustapha Hussein, who teaches political science at the Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, told VOA shutting down the MEC offices is ill-timed.

"Because the case of MEC is in the courts and we heard about the judgment which shows that there are solutions being put forward to what is happening. So, in that sense I would say that the act of shutting down the offices might be going too far and might not auger well with the laws of Malawi, he said.

Hussein also said the shutdown would affect MEC preparations for the new elections expected to be held in June.

Ansah told parliament Wednesday that the electoral commission is currently working on the budget for the new elections.

Source: Voice of America