Two of the three candidates in the June 23 fresh presidential election have challenged M a l a w i E l e c t o r a l Commission (MEC) to strictly follow the law and the right procedures to avoid a repeat of the mess in the nullified May 21 2019 elections.
The candidates, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) who also leads Tonse Alliance and Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Democracy (MMD) say they do not expect any political pressure, manipulation and violence as the commission carries out its work.
In its quest to appraise candidates on the state of preparedness, MEC, led by its new chairperson Judge Chifundo Kachale, on Friday and Saturday met President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who also leads an alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF), Chakwera and Kuwani.
Speaking during a press conference in Lilongwe on Saturday, Kachale said the candidates were updated on MEC’s state of preparedness, challenges anticipated and initiatives being taken to mitigate the same.
He said: “These face-to-face meetings also afforded us a unique opportunity for the candidates to inform us of their expectations on the work of the commission as regards the fresh presidential election and to agree on modalities for ongoing engagement with their nominating political parties where necessary.”
In an interview yesterday, MCP spoke s p e r s on the Reverend Maurice Munthali said they were impressed with MEC’s state of preparedness which, he said, is instilling hope and restoring the lost trust.
He said: “We are hopeful that we have a team at MEC that is able to facilitate the election within the given timeframe. Should MEC have challenges, let them communicate to all relevant stakeholders.
“If the challenges can lead to the polling date changing, then they have to be convincing enough to necessitate that shift.”
Munthali added that they expect the new MEC to follow the law by ensuring that the election is held in a free, fair and credible manner and without political influence.
On his part, Kuwani said yesterday that other than changing the face of MEC, the new commissioners provide a blend o f professionals from various disciplines ready to defy political party affiliation.
Taking to his Facebook page, he stressed he would have wanted the whole commission to have new faces, but said MMD has painfully accepted retention of commissioners Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje—who were part of the MEC team discredited by the courts and Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee—to keep institutional memory. page, he stressed he would have
Said Kuwani: “The secret behind embracing integrity rests in adherence to laws and procedures. The secret behind enhancing integrity revolves around the fear of God which is indisputably the beginning of wisdom.”
But DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said he was not privy to details about the meeting between MEC and Mutharika. He said he needed to consult before making any remarks. Presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani did not respond to our questions by press time.