Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah and her team of Commissioners were ducking yesterday when asked to comment on the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling delivered by seven judges Friday.
President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) challenged a February 3 Constitutional Court Judgement that ordered a fresh presidential election following what the court described as widespread and systematic irregularities in the May 2019 presidential poll.
One of the Supreme Court judges, Justice Frank Kapanda, among others, said the conduct of Mec in the litigation both at Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court leaves a lot to be desired, and the highest court in the land ordered Mec to square the legal costs for UTM leader Saulos Chilima and MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera in both the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.
Efforts to speak to Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah could not yield much as both her phones could not be reached and her Personal Assistant Susan Chowe said just like us, she too could not reach her boss.
Mec Commissioner Jean Mathanga said she could not comment because she was waiting for the commission to meet while Mary Nkosi said she was not following the ruling when it was being delivered therefore she was not aware of the determination.
Commissioner Moffat Banda pushed us to Mec’s Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa who equally referred us back to the Chairperson.
It was only Commissioner Linda Kunje who was bold enough to comment on the ruling, saying the commission was not expecting anything different.
Kunje said the commission’s hopes were not high on the Supreme Court’s ruling, which is why they carried on with electoral preparations.
“We got contended that somehow somewhere someone did not do their job well. Unfortunately, I don’t know whether it is the Supreme Court or not but people are on a mission including the judiciary which is very sad. Today is the saddest day in the history of Malawi unfortunately they are the courts we just have to do the way they want us to do,” she said.
On the commission’s incompetence, Kunje questioned the judges’ interpretation, arguing it is the same commission which ushered into power the current members of Parliament (MP) and Ward Councillors.
“So the court the feels the commission was incompetent only one side and not the MPs and the councillors. For me this being the highest court there were supposed to clear all those grey areas. I feel content as you know very well and the Constitution is very clear it was a tripartite election.
“We didn’t say let us handle the presidential vote differently we handled everything together the same Tippex that we are talking of it was across the board. So if they are learned judges they needed to interpret everything to clear everyone why have they left out the Parliament and local elections. It would have been in the best interest of everyone to declare the nullification of all three not just one which makes us question that are they really following the law or they are serving somebody or some people in their minds who we believe they have actually colluded them,” she said.
The rest of the commissioner’s phones were either off or unpicked.