By Jameson Chauluka:
Thousands of concerned women Wednesday marched in Blantyre to support embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, by wearing T-Shirts labelled ‘I am Jane Ansah’.
The march followed rival demonstrations organised by civil society organisations and political parties, seeking Ansah’s resignation for allegedly mismanaging the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The protesters started off from Blantyre Old Town Hall through Masauko Chipembere Highway to present their petition to the government through Blantyre City Council.
Coordinator of the demonstrations, Seodi White, said they were overwhelmed by the turn out of women.
“We are very pleased that women have shown that they are not happy with the abuse on Jane Ansah and all women in the name of Jane Ansah. We are saying that Jane Ansah will not fall. Jane Ansah is standing. She will not dance to the whims and wishes of disgruntled people,” White said.
White maintained that those calling for Ansah’s resignation were doing so because she is a woman.
However, Malawi Congress Party, UTM and civil society organisations that are pushing for Ansah’s resignation have dismissed White’s assertions, saying Mec has been managed by women without facing such public backlash.
“We are not surprised that they are saying it is not a gender issue because that is what they say, but those of us who have been in the gender discourse for over 20 years know that they are picking on her because she is a woman. Akumutola [they have found easy prey in her] if I can use that word. Akumutola because she is a woman and all this must stop,” she said.
Minister of Gender, Mary Navitcha, said all women of good standing were behind Ansah.
“Malawi is a God-fearing nation. Malawi is a country which respects women. We are here to say ‘no to gender-based violence and the abuse of Justice Dr Jane Ansah’. Time has come for all women to stand by Ansah,” she said.