United Democratic Front (UDF) president Atupele Muluzi is set to resign as Machinga North East legislator ahead of presentation of his nomination papers as presidential candidate this Thursday, his aide has confirmed.
Muluzi’s personal assistant Charles Nkozomba said in a telephone interview on Mon
Muluzi will become the second legislator to resign to pave the way for a presidential bid after leader of opposition in Parliament and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Lazarus Chakwera announced his resignation on Sunday.
Chakwera cited Section 80 (7)(e) of the Constitution as the justification for his resignation.
The announcement reignited debate on the timing of presentation of nomination papers by presidential aspirants which is preceding the dissolution of Parliament.
Records show that in 2014, Muluzi also resigned as member of Parliament (MP) when he made his maiden presidential bid.
When contacted on the timing of the nominations, MEC director for media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said he could not discuss the matter as it was legal in nature.
He said: “This is a matter of law. Let the legal minds discuss this subject.”
Speaking on the matter, Malawi Law Society (MLS) honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde said MEC holds the key to providing guidance on the matter.
She said: “MEC should provide guidance on how the process is to be undertaken considering that Section 80(7)(e) cannot be read in isolation but be read together with Section 76 (2)(d) as well which gives power to the commission to ensure compliance with the Constitution.”
Previously, MEC used to receive nomination papers after Parliament was dissolved in its fifth year in March, but the electoral body is on record to have said it switched to February to allow more time for printing of ballot papers.
In the 2009 presidential race, then legislators Joyce Banda, John Tembo, Brown Mpinganjira, Clement Stambuli and Loveness Gondwe were also technically barred from submitting nominations either as presidential candidates or running mates as they were still serving as MPs. However, MEC processed their submissions. n