Ex-Mec chair speaks on poll

Msosa says election doable on June 23


Former Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) chairperson, Anastasia Msosa, who is credited for successfully presiding over the first election in democratic Malawi, has weighed in on the forthcoming court-ordered poll, saying it is possible for the exercise to be conducted on June 23.

We sought Msosa’s comment following Parliament’s adoption of a resolution to set the election date and the subsequent announcement by Mec Chairperson, Chifundo Kachale, that the electoral body would gazette June 23 as the date for the fresh poll.

Msosa said in an interview Thursday that the main challenge she sees is to do with the distribution of polling materials and that it is possible for the election to be held on June 23.


“I don’t want to speak on their behalf but it is possible because I want to believe that the commission has been preparing for this even before that commission was dissolved. The main challenge is to do with distribution of polling materials. If they can deal with that then it is possible,” she said.

The former Chief Justice and first female judge of the High Court said she is confident that the new Mec is working hard to have the election held as ordered by the courts.

“Hearing what the chairperson is saying, it looks they are doing their best to hold the election. I would say we should not be worried with the date [June 23] really but whether we can hold the election before the 150 days elapse,” Msosa said.


In his announcement that Mec would gazette June 23 as the date for the fresh presidential election, Kachale indicated that the electoral body foresees some logistical challenges.

He also disclosed that the commission would be engaging relevant stakeholders including contesting political parties on how they can tackle some of the challenges Mec anticipates with the management of the court-ordered poll.

“The commission’s decision to publish the polling date has been arrived at with considerable hesitation arising from the practicalities of holding a genuine and credible election in view of logistical challenges that the commission anticipates,” the statement reads in part.

Malawi Congress Party Secretary- General Eisenhower Mkaka has hailed Mec for deciding to gazette the date, saying the logistical challenges should be dealt with as the country progresses towards the date.

“This is what Malawians have been waiting for. Just look at the reaction out there. Everyone is happy that at least the date of healing has finally been set,” Mkaka said.

On the other hand, Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said he could not comment on the development as the commission was only complying with a resolution of Parliament.

“I thought the commission is only complying with what Parliament has resolved? So you say anything to the contrary?” Dausi charged.

Meanwhile, political commentators and legal experts have advised Mec to speed up the process of holding the fresh presidential election.

Mzuzu-based political analyst George Phiri said the practicality of conducting the election on June 23 depends on the efficiency of Mec commissioners and not the time they have.

“Mainly, issues of elections are not dependent on time but rather efficiency of commissioners on how to apply electoral laws so that the results can be accepted by all parties,” Phiri said.

Dean of Law at Chancellor College Sunduzwayo Madise also said it may not make sense for Mec to say that they do not have enough time to hold a credible election.

“If Mec can say that they will not have enough time, the question is why do they not have time? They had all the time from February 3 and what have they done with it?” Madise queried.

Malawians are expected to vote for their leader again after the courts nullified the election of President Peter Mutharika on the basis of systematic and widespread irregularities in the 2019 presidential poll where Mec announced Mutharika as the winner before the decision was challenged in court.

The Constitutional Court ordered that a fresh poll should be conducted within 150 days from February 3 when it delivered its judgement. The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision.

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