Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera on Monday resigned as Member of Parliament for Lilongwe North West Constituency ahead of the fresh presidential election. MCP is in an electoral alliance with UTM whose leader is Vice-President Saulos Chilima. It is still not clear who will lead the alliance as it presents its nomination papers today in Blantyre.
Chakwera confirmed having resigned in line with Section 80(7)(e) of the Malawi Constitution that requires holders of public offices to give up their positions before contesting as presidential candidates.
The section reads: “No person shall be eligible for nomination as a candidate for election as President or First Vice-President or for appointment as First-Vice President or Second Vice- President if that person is a holder of a public office or a Member of Parliament unless that person first resigns.”
Chakwera challenged that their Tonse Alliance will carry the day come the election day. “This agrees with our shared value of holding the rule of law, doing so to continue our collective fight for the aspirations of all Malawians,” he said.
Assistant Clerk of Parliament Leonard Mengezi also confirmed Chakwera’s resignation, saying Parliament was in the process of gazetting it in accordance with the Constitution.
Today, Chakwera and Chilima are expected to resent their nomination papers under their alliance whose leader has not been unveiled yet despite that speculation has been rife that the MCP leader will be the torchbearer.
Other presidential candidates who are expected to present the papers on Wednesday are Shaibu Mustafa of New Vision for Democracy Party, Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development and independents Ras Chikomeni Chirwa and Reverend Kaliya. On Thursday, independents Khwechani Nkhoma, Phunziro Mvula and Smart Swira and Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party are expected to present theirs.
Malawians are going to the fresh election on July 2 after the Constitutional Court nullified the May 2019 presidential poll on the basis of “widespread and systematic irregularities”.