Vice President Saulos Chilima Wednesday said the Special Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus (Covid-19) has no mandate to suspend registration of voters in readiness for the July 2 2020 presidential elections.
Chilima, who is also UTM President, was responding to questions from reporters during a press briefing he addressed in Lilongwe.
On Tuesday, Chairperson of the Committee, Jappie Mhango, ordered that registration of voters ahead of the elections be suspended.
But Chilima said the ministerial Committee has no powers to order Dedza, Ntcheu, Chikwawa, NSanje and Blantyre. Updating the public on the Coronavirus pandemic, the committee, through its chairperson Jappie Mhango, directed that Mec should suspend voter registration exercise ahead of the July 2 2020 fresh presidential elections.
Chairperson of the committee Jappie Mhango ordered that the registration exercise be suspended to safeguard lives of people from the threat of Covid 19. “What we are saying is that you can only have an election where people are enjoying good health.
We are government and we have a duty to protect the citizens. It is not about the courts. Wisdom must prevail. We have got wise people in the courts and parliament. This disease will not spare anybody whether you are in government, judiciary or the opposition,” said Mec spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said Mec will speak on the cabinet committee’s direction later.
“The commission will speak regarding direction of the voter registration exercise and the entire electoral process,” he said. Law experts Justin Dzonzi and Dean of Law at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College Sunduzwayo Madzise faulted the committee saying it does not have legal mandate to stop the exercise.
“The constitution of the cabinet committee to do with Coronavirus is purely administrative and not provided for under the appropriate law.
“We should keep in mind that these are not normal election but court ordered election. Any processes that are going to interfere with the implementation of that order require a sanction of the court,” Dzonzi said.