MEC commits to credible, fair election Embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has committed to deliver a “free, fair and credible” July 2 fresh presidential election and challenged contestants to employ an issue-based campaign.
In her address on the first day of receiving presidential nomination papers at Soche International Conference Centre at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah said the exercise presents a defining moment as it shapes the election race.
“The commission will work with impartiality in all processes,” she said to jeers from a section of the audience.
The speech by Ansah—a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal—came after Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, representing the nine-party Tonse Alliance, had branded the electoral body “lawless”, apparently after irregularities, especially in the results management system, during the annulled May 21 2019 presidential election.
She also stressed that an election is a competition where there can only be one winner. In this regard, she asked candidates to restrict themselves to issue-based campaign.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic that has led to imposing of precautionary measures, including restriction of gatherings to not more than 100, the MEC chairperson dared the candidates to do campaign unusual by avoiding huge gatherings to protect lives.
During the ceremony, candidates also signed a code of conduct for political parties and candidates in which they commit to issue-based campaign and avoiding hate speech, among others.
Earl i e r, MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika indicated that there were 13 nomination papers collected. However, only nine submitted.
But by midday yesterday, he said only three candidates had paid the required K2 million nomination fees.
A five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court on February 3 nullified last year’s presidential election over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system, as prayed by the country’s estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima of UTM Party and Chakwera. The court ordered a fresh election in 150 days, which expires on July 3.
Meanwhile, the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal is on Friday set to deliver its judgement on an appeal of the Constitutional Court judgement filed by MEC and Mutharika.
If the seven-judge Supreme Court panel upholds the judgement, the election will proceed. However, if it overturns the same, the vote will not take place