Malawi: Activists, Opposition to Push for New Malawi Electoral Commission

MCP leader Lazarous Chakwera (in black) and UTM leader Saulos Chilima (in red) (file photo).
30 April 2020

Civil rights activists and opposition parties say they will fight to the nail to ensure that the current cohort of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners are removed from office.

They were reacting angrily to President Peter Mutharika's declaration on Wednesday that he would not fire the commissioners as recommended by parliament, saying he sees nothing wrong with them.

But Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Gift Trapence said it was only Mutharika who does not see anything wrong with the current crop of the commissioners.

"We are going to fight until they are removed from office. We don't want them to handle the next election," he said.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said the party will pursue all legal means to have the commissioners removed from office.

"We are just waiting for Supreme Court judgment. After the ruling, we will see how to go forward with the matter," he said.

UTM publicist Joseph Chidanti Malunga said his party will pursue legal path to get the commissioners out of office.

UTM took the government to the High Court to force president Peter Mutharika fire the commissioners but the case has since been put on hold pending the Supreme Court ruling on the presidential election case.

In its ruling on February 3 2020, the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) found gross incompetence in the electoral body's management of the annulled May 2019 presidential election results.

The court, therefore, ordered Parliament's Public Appointments Committee (PAC) to further evaluate the commissioners' performance and make appropriate recommendations to President Peter Mutharika.

PAC, upon assessment, recommended that the President fires the commissioners and replace them with a new set ahead of the fresh presidential poll that the National Assembly has proposed be held on May 19 2020.

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