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Fired commissioners given 7 days to surrender property

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Linda Kunje

By Deogratias Mmana:

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has given seven days to four fired Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) commissioners to surrender the institution’s property.

The four are Linda Kunje, Jean Mathanga, Steve Duwa and Arthur Nanthuru.

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This follows a June 2, 2021 High Court ruling which quashed their appointments by former president Peter Mutharika.

According to the communication that we have seen to one of the commissioners, Steve Duwa, Mec is demanding its property that the commissioners were using.

“I refer to the judgement of the Court and its implications and request you to return the following within seven days from the date of this letter,” reads the letter, with the headline ‘Administrative matters relating to your post in view to the judgment of the judicial cause No. 34 of 2020’.

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The letter is dated June 4, 2021 and signed by Mec acting Chief Elections Officer, Harris Potani.

The items to be surrendered include motor vehicle, laptop, Ipad and MiFi router.

“You may keep the fuel card for the meantime until you have exhausted all the fuel in the card. Please do not feel obliged to return the phone,” the letter adds.

The letter, which has reference number ELC/ PF/5A047 further reads: “You may also wish to be advised that other services such as security will automatically cease to be provided.”

The court faulted Mutharika for abusing his power to appoint four commissioners instead of three, depriving Malawi Congress Party of one commissioner.

DPP submission had five names that included David Kanyenda. Mutharika picked four instead of three.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had three names but Mutharika picked two instead of three. He left out Richard Chapweteka, who has since been appointed.

The court fired the four and ordered the party to resubmit three names.

On Wednesday, DPP submitted three names: former Member of Parliament for Nsanje Central constituency and former cabinet minister Francis Kasaila; former Member of Parliament for Chiradzulu West and former cabinet minister Emmanuel Fabiano and Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust regional coordinator for the North Caroline Mfune for the Mec commissioners role.

President Lazarus Chakwera has since gone ahead to appoint Kasaila, Mfune and Fabiano and Chapweteka.

MCP brought the case to court against President of the Republic of Malawi and the four fired commissioners as interested parties. MCP protested the appointments of four DPP Mec commissioners against two for its party.

In his ruling, High Court Judge, Kenyatta Nyirenda, said MCP was forced to commence the proceedings as a way of seeking to end impunity on the part of the defendant (Mutharika), in this case the presidency.

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