Malawi's electoral chair resigns ahead of presidential election

23May 2020
The Guardian
Malawi's electoral chair resigns ahead of presidential election

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has announced that she has resigned from her position as MEC's chair.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah.

The MEC leader has confirmed the resignation during an exclusive interview with the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation yesterday. She has also disclosed that she has written President Mutharika about the decision.

Ansah said the decision has stemmed from the fact that top courts in Malawi has faulted the commissioners for mismanaging the 2019 presidential election.

The resignation has come after the Malawi constitutional court in February upheld the opposition leaders' petition and nullified the May 2019 presidential election results on grounds of irregularities including manual alterations and use of tippex on the results sheets to change the figures.

Political commentators and activists are asking President Mutharika to appoint new commissioners for the sake of credibility during the next presidential election.

Malawians are expected to go into polls on June 23 to select a new state president despite the threat of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, office of the district health officer (DHO) workers who recently tested positive to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) are refusing institutional quarantine. A visit inside the Kameza Isolation Centre for Covid-19 revealed.

Senior Medical Officer for Blantyre DHO, Dr. Atusaye Mughogho told the press on Wednesday that the two have young children that cannot stay with a caretaker only for two weeks.

Mughogho, therefore, said the DHO was still negotiating with the health workers so that they are isolated until another test is done and is proven negative.

"Institutional isolation is proving difficult because the health workers are reluctant. One of them has a two-year old child that cannot be left with a nanny for the fourteen day quarantine period," she said.

The other one is a bread winner and lives with little kids that are two and eight years respectively, according to Mughogho.

"In this case, much as we want to take care of the masses out there, we also need to consider the bond that is there between the workers and their families," said Mughogho.

"We have so far done an immediate inspection of their homes to see if there is no danger of transmitting the disease to other family members and possibility of self-isolation. Their immediate contacts, including the family members have also been tested and have come out negative," she added.

Since the pandemic came into existence, the district has screened 792 people of which 391 are health workers and seven of them tested positive. So far, Blantyre has recorded 18 Covid-19 cases.

In addition, the office is currently on a mop-up exercise in Mpingwe and Limbe as 98 percent of the confirmed cases came from the stated areas.

Meanwhile, the district has established two more testing laboratories at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Dream Centre, taking the total number to four.