Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, has reportedly provided “a cordial response” to Public Affairs Committee (Pac)’s request for a meeting as part of the quasi-religious body’s initiative to end post-election stalemate in the country.
However, uncertainty surrounds such a planned meeting as there are issues that have to be ironed out.
Pac Executive Director, Robert Phiri, in a response to a questionnaire Thursday, said Ansah responded to their request for mediation but said there were issues they had to iron out.
“I can confirm that communication between Pac and [the] Mec Chairperson has taken place. Her response was cordial and, at the moment, Pac mediators have examined the contents of the letters. Based on instruction from mediators, Pac Secretariat intends to write a follow-up letter to iron out some issues concerning dialogue,” he said.
The two parties are yet to agree on the dialogue meeting which the committee has been facilitating amid political unrest in the country in view of disputed May 21 tripartite elections results.
Pac planned to meet Ansah, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera, UTM leader Saulos Chilima and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) this month for mediation talks after meeting President Peter Mutharika.
So far, Pac has held such meetings with UTM, MCP, HRDC and Mutharika, where Phiri said critical issues had been isolated.
“The agreements on what we discussed have to be validated first by the concerned parties. In terms of re-engaging the Head of State, the public will be informed for there are a few issues in this initiative that must resonate,” he said.
Phiri reiterated that the dialogue process had no timeframe as the underlying issues such as reforms were also being tackled.
“We feel that while short-term achievements are required, long-term durable, inclusive solutions are of paramount importance for peace and development— knowing that the issues are complex in nature,” he said
Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said he was not aware of any communication between the two parties.
“I have not seen any communication and I am not aware if Pac contacted her [Ansah] for a dialogue meeting. If they contacted her and she gave out a response, then it is up to Pac to make that response public if they want to do so,” he said.
Mwafulirwa said Ansah was restraining herself from commenting, through the media, on anything to do with any matter that might reflect on the ongoing Constitutional Court case.
MCP and UTM petitioned the case seeking nullification of election results which the parties argue were marred by irregularities.
To press for Ansah’s resignation, which she describes as mob justice, HRDC has been organising nationwide demonstrations whose latest round was scheduled for Wednesday but the Supreme Court put that to a stop for the next 14 days to pave the way for stakeholders to “to determine a manner in which the respondents’ exercise in Section 38 of the Constitution can be had without undue incidents of violence”.