Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has warned presidential candidates and their supporters against inciting anarchy during voting and after the announcement of the winner of the court-ordered June 23 fresh presidential election.
In a statement jointly signed by PAC chairperson Monsignor Patrick Thawale and publicity secretary Bishop Gilford Emmanuel Matonga yesterday, the quasi-religious grouping has warned that plans and actions geared at causing anarchy as a result of loss in the election—either from opposition or governing party—will not be condoned. The leaders said it is time for the country to move on.
Reads the statement in part: “No presidential candidate should be bent on causing anarchy in this country. Let freedoms enjoyed by Malawians remain a daughter of Justice. Therefore, PAC calls upon all Malawians in their large numbers to participate in voting on 23rd June 2020. Let us remain peace-loving Malawians.
“Imposed leadership, whether from opposition or governing party, will strongly be resisted should leaders in the race decide to deliberately disturb law and order;
“The will of the people should not intentionally be ignored for personal political mileage since it is this principle that grants power and legitimacy to the leadership.”
PAC has also cautioned against irresponsible use of social media platforms and urged the public to rely on information from relevant authorities, such as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
The June 23 fresh presidential election follows the February 3 2020 nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election by the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court judgement, which called for a fresh election within 150 days, followed a petition by two of the presidential candidates in the 2019 election, UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera.
While describing the 2019 elections case as providing a wholesale re-evaluation of the country’s architectural design of the electoral process, PAC says the three arms of government—the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive—and the public should ensure that the rule of law and constitutionalism are upheld.
PAC also said it is pleased to note that following the court interpretation of “majority” votes in the presidential election to mean 50-percent-plus-one, the country is proceeding to the election using the new system for the first time.
Reads the statement: “This election is unique. First, this election is born out of a court ruling and second, they will follow 50-percent-plus-one system advocated by other stakeholders and PAC in their advocacy resulting from the 5+1 All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference of 2017.”
The run-up to the fresh election was marred by ugly scenes of violence. During the violence, three members of a family in Lilongwe died after sustaining burns in a suspected case of arson while several others in different cases also suffered various degrees of injuries or losses.
Police are yet to bring the suspects to book.