Malawi Government will cough nearly K600 million if MEC successfully appeals against the eligibility of four members of Parliament perceived to have gone to May 20 polls while holding public office.
In March, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) disqualified the legislators—Salima North West’s Jesse Kabwira, Karonga South Malani Mtonga, Nsanje South West Joseph Chidanti Malunga and Kasungu South East’s Elias Wakuda Kamanga—on the account of conflict of interest together with Umodzi Party presidential hopeful Professor John Chisi.
They were among 15 contenders who were back in the race for the National Assembly following High Court rulings by judges Dustain Mwaungulu, Mike Tembo and Dorothy Nyakaunda-Kamanga.
However, chief elections officer Willie Kalonga on April 3 indicated that MEC would appeal all cases to the Supreme Court because the three judges “contradicted each other, especially on definition of public office”.
When asked about progress, Kalonga this week affirmed the electoral body has not relented on its plans to ensure the country goes to future polls without “questions or discussion” on who constitutes a public officer or not.
On Thursday, Kalonga stated: “Yes, we are proceeding with the appeal. We want to seek the direction of the court on the definition of a public officer. This is about implementation of electoral laws to ensure there is no discussion about who is a public officer or not,” he said.
This puts into questions the eligibility of Kabwila, who was a lecturer in literature at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College; Malunga who worked with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) as well as Kamanga and Mtonga who were full-time presidential advisers before Joyce Banda lost the seat to Peter Mutharika.