Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament will tomorrow morning meet embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale following MEC’s proposal to change the date for the forthcoming July 2 presidential election.
Committee chairperson Kezzie Msukwa in an interview yesterday said the meeting will map the way forward on the elections date.
He said: “We have summoned Jane Ansah to the meeting so that we agree on the date of election. There have been so many changes and different statements, so we want her to explain at the same time to tell us how prepared they are to honour the dates that will be suggested.”
The High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court on February 3 2020 nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election and directed Parliament to pass the Electoral Reforms Bills in preparation for a fresh presidential election within 150 days of the ruling. The 150 days expire on July 3 2020. On nMay 8, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal sustained the ruling.
In the same month, Parliament set May 19 2020 as the date for the fresh presidential election and extended the tenure of office for parliamentarians and counci by one year following the passing of two Electoral Reforms Bills which were sent too President Peter Mutharika for assent.
But in March, Mutharika withheld assent to the Bills and refused to fire MEC commissioners whom Parliament’s Public handle the next election and recommended that they be fired.Appointments Committee (PAC) found incompetent to
After the rejection of the Bills, MEC announced that the fresh presidential poll would be held on July 2 2020, but after the Supreme Court ruling, Ansah suggested at a National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting that the poll be held on June 23 2020.
But the MEC chairperson later said she did not have the mandate to set election dates and threw the matter back to Parliament.
Msukwa has since said the AG’s presence at tomorrow’s meeting will give him a chance to explain their side following the Supreme Court ruling on the fresh election.
He said: “We would like to hear from the Attorney General on the way forward following the Supreme Court decision, and that the President refused to assent to the Bills yet we are running out of time as ruled on February 3.”
The Electoral Reforms Bills that Mutharika rejected were presented by Lilongwe City South West legislator Nancy Tembo as Private Members Bill (PBM) number 5 of 2020, and PBM number 4 of 2020 presented by her Nkhata Bay West counterpart Chrispin Mphande.