The government has fired Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga from their positions, citing incompetence as ruled by the Supreme Court of Appeal in May last year.
Kunje confirmed, in an interview, that she and Mathanga had received their dismissal letters.
“We both have received similar letters,” she said.
In a letter dated April 7 2021, which Secretary to the Government Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi has signed and addressed to Kunje, the government says it has rescinded the decision which former president Peter Mutharika made to appoint her.
“Your appointment as Electoral Commissioner announced on 7th June 2020 by the then President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, [is] hereby rescinded with immediate effect,” the letter reads.
“The rescission is on the basis that you were adjudged incompetent by the Supreme Court of Appeal on 8th May 2020 in MSCA [Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal] Constitutional Appeal No. 1 of 2020 regarding the manner in which you handled the 2019 General Election,” the letter adds.
Chikhosi says, by operation of the law and pursuant to section 75(3) (b) of the Constitution, Kunje’s appointment was rendered defective, as she was disqualified for appointment as an Electoral Commissioner in light of the Supreme Court determination.
“The circumstance that arose to disqualify you for the appointment was the Supreme Court determination cited above,” reads the letter.
Kunje and Mathanga sued President Lazarus Chakwera and the electoral body for not offering them appointment letters, allowances, honoraria and related benefits dating back to June 7 2020, when the Tonse Alliance-led administration took power from the Democratic Progressive Party.
Chakwera refused to send letters of appointment on grounds that the two commissioners were found incompetent by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Mutharika appointed the two alongside five others ahead of the court-sanctioned fresh presidential election of June 23 2020.
The former president ignored recommendations from the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament to discipline the two and went ahead to reappoint them.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) recently asked the High Court to include it among defendants in the commissioners’ case versus the Malawi Government.
The fate of Mathanga is not yet known.
Meanwhile MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka has said they will continue with their case, claiming that they do not have an “official communication on the matter”.
“What you are talking about has been done by the government. We went to court as a party and we, as a party, cannot be moved by what the government is doing,” Mkaka said.