Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) has urged the Law Commission and the Judicial Service Commission to reconsider their appointments to the Special Law Commission that has been mandated to review electoral laws.
The network says it wants an inclusive commission that takes into account the need for gender equality, youth and special groups in the society.
In a statement released on Friday, Mesn has called on the two commissions to ensure representation from diverse sectors of the Malawi society as elections issues are of national interest and require consensus.
“Upon review of the appointed members, the Special Law Commission does not have representation from the community of the disabled. Electoral laws must not continue to exclude the disabled from actively participating in the electoral process.
“The lack of representation on this important body may result in issues affecting this group not to be sufficiently addressed,” reads part of the statement signed by Mesn chairperson Steve Duwa.
On under-represented women and the youth, the statement said Mesn recognises that the Special Law Commission has seven women out of 18 members, representing 38 percent, and since a key aspect of the recommended electoral reforms is women’s representation, the commission should lead its own composition.
“While some groups have been excluded, Mesn observes that some institutions and organisations have been over represented. In particular, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) are both over represented,” reads the statement in part.
The Law Commission announced in the media last week that in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, it has appointed an 18-member Special Law Commission to review electoral laws.
According to the published statement, members of the Special Law Commission on electoral reforms include Justice Anthony Kamanga, chairperson of the Judiciary; Willie Kalonga, chief elections officer at MEC; Gertrude Janet Banda, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Ambassador Ronald Nkomba, Esmie Kainja, Ministry of Gender, Children, Elderly, Disability and Social Welfare; Nandini Patel, Catholic University of Malawi; Arthur Nanthuru, Malawi Law Society (MLS); Mwiza Nkhata, University of Malawi; and Emma Kaliya, NGO-GCN.Hiwa, a law commissioner; Dr.
The others are Grace Malera, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC); Douglas Mkweta, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Betty Katsonga Liwimbi, CMD; Gerald Chigona, CMD; Harris Potani, MEC; Cassius Chidothe, Muslim Association of Malawi; Reverend Dr. Chatha Msangaambe, Malawi Council of Churches and Professor Wiseman Chijere Chirwa from the Media Council of Malawi.