The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has told Umodzi Party (UP) president Professor John Chisi that he was rejected to stand as presidential candidate because he is a public servant.
This is in sharp contrast to Malawi Law Society (MLS)’s view that backed another University of Malawi lecturer Jessie Kabwila’s candidature as a legislator.
“It has appeared to us that you are not qualified for the election at the forthcoming election as President of Malawi on the grounds that you were a public and/or remain a holder of a public office and you have not resigned from the said public office. In terms of Section 80(7) (e) of the Republican Constitution, you are ineligible to contest for the office of President of Malawi,” said MEC’s chief elections officer Willie Kalonga in a letter addressed to Chisi.
MEC also asked Chisi to return the Certificate of Candidature it gave him.
But at a press conference of Friday at his Chigumula residence in Blantyre, Chisi said he is seeking legal advice on the next course of action.
“We have consulted people that know legal matters and we are sure there will be positive outcome. As law abiding people, we accept what MEC has said, but will seek legal process to challenge that,” said Chisi who was flanked by party secretary general Edgar Tembo and publicity secretary Innocent Mphaya.
He expressed surprise at MEC’s action considering that he took leave of absence which gave him the green light to practise politics.
“I took leave of absence that is why the [employer] university is not interested in whatever I do. Leave of absence gives a university employee chance to pursue a political career and I am surprised that MEC does not consider that,” said Chisi.
In backing Kabwila’s candidature, MLS president Mandala Mambulasa said leave of absence meant that, among others, Kabwila would not be drawing two salaries.