he Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) announcement on Monday in which it announced the launch of the fresh presidential election angered many people on the streets.
Among other things, MEC released a calendar of events for the upcoming presidential poll. The electoral process starts from April 4 to June 7 with voter registration and transfers.
The opposition alliance of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party immediately called for a press briefing to call for MEC chairperson Jane Ansah and her fellow commissioners to step down.
To Chidanti Malunga, UTM spokesperson and Ezikiel Ching’oma, MCP’s deputy spokesperson MEC lacks legitimacy as it was found wanting and declared incompetent by Parliamentary Committee on Public Appointments Committee (PAC).
They argued that in its judgment, the Constitutional Court found a litany of gross irregularities and ultimately questioned Justice Ansah’s and her fellow commissioners’ competence to continue holding their respective offices.
Malunga and Ching’oma emphasised that the findings of the parliamentary inquiry were unequivocal in their conclusion that Justice Ansah and her fellow commissioners fell short of the standard expected of the holders of the high offices they occupy.
In the words of Chidanti: “The commission, in its current composition does not have the legitimacy and competence to manage elections and command acceptability to all sections of the society”.
Therefore, MCP and UTM believe that the current nine-member commission has no role in the activities of the forthcoming elections. They should go now.
These sentiments are shared by a majority of the stakeholders, who feel MEC lacks mandate to organise any fresh elections. Malawians have lost trust in the group, they say.
Some have even quoted Section 12 of the Constitution which talks about what it takes for holders of public office to continue holding their positions. The section says the mandate comes from the people.
While we agree that the current MEC is a waste of time, on Monday Ansah was right; the wheels of MEC must continue turning as it has done in the past by-elections in Lilongwe, Kasungu and Balaka.
As Professor of law at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Garton Kamchedzera, has rightly put it in The Nation issue of Wednesday March 25, the opposition political parties are free to return to the court and argue that enforcement of the judgement is being frustrated.
For now, as much as we on the streets want Ansah achoke, we feel MEC should continue preparing for the upcoming elections, because as it stands the people at MEC to work on the upcoming presidential election are Ansah and her shamed counterparts.
Malawians are lusting for the presidential election—come rain or sunshine that is why it is even more important that the current maimed MEC should carry on limping with one leg to the finishing line.
In the current impasse all Malawians are looking foward to a chance to elect a new leader, which they will with or without this compromised MEC. n