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Jane Ansah rebuffs resignation calls

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By Serah Makondetsa:

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah has rebuffed calls from some electoral stakeholders for her resignation following the lost-but-found biometric registration kit incident.

In an interview on a programme called Times Exclusive which airs every Saturday night on Times TV, a subsidiary of Times Group, Ansah said she will not resign arguing the issue does not necessitate such an action.

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“The stakeholders have said it, but I can only resign if there is an issue that necessitates that action but not this. Because I have explained everything it is understood, so no! I will not step down,” she said.

Ansah dispelled sentiments that the commission is incompetent arguing, as far as the commission is concerned, they laid all necessary measures of security for the equipment being used for the exercise.

“For us, we have taken every step to secure our machines but someone somehow broke through. The steps that we have taken are all security measures. You cannot say that it is incompetence.

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“And you should also appreciate that we are in the final stage and there is only one kit that went missing in all the phases and another kit was found without a computer. In all this, we are dealing with 1,499 kits and only two have been affected, I believe two is a small number, it cannot cancel everything that we have done and to say that we are responsible, I refute that,” she said.

Ansah said, so far, the commission is not aware if any arrests have been made saying no one has been suspended to pave way for investigations.

“I think no one has been arrested so far but Mec provided all relevant information to the police. We have not suspended anyone. To begin with, this person who was assigned the kit was assigned on paper, he or she did not have it physically in their hands. Again, we change drivers and once we have used them for deployment, they go back to their respective jobs. So, the drivers are not ours that we can suspend them,” she said.

Ansah reiterated that data was not lost and no information was tampered with due to the loss of the kit.

“Malawians should trust me and the commission that we will deliver free and fair elections. They should not forget all the reforms that we have introduced at the commission. Those reforms will ensure that we have free and fair elections,” she said.

Malawi Electoral Support Network Chairperson Steve Duwa said while it is too early to ask for the resignation of the commissioners, Mec has the task to ensure Malawians trust their word, especially on data that was contained in the kit.

“I think we should give Mec the benefit of doubt. Unfortunately, they did not inform the nation [about the incident] in good time. But simply to conclude that this data might have been tampered with and bring in suspicions of rigging, I think it is not fair,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party, through its Publicity Secretary Reverend Maurice Munthali, called for the identification and immediate dismissal of all Mec personnel suspected to have had a hand in the loss of the items.

People’s Party Secretary General Ibrahim Matola, during the National Elections Consultative Forum meeting in Lilongwe, asked Ansah to resign for not reporting the matter to electoral stakeholders before it was made public by the media.

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