Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) officials have told the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament that they are in dilemma on how to deal with lawyers which were hired from South Africa.
South Africa imposed a lockdown due to the Covid-19. This means the lawyers have to be quarantined for, at least 14 days, before they start attending the court for the hearing of presidential elections appeal case which starts on April 15.
Thirteen days are remaining for the Supreme Court to start hearing the case.
Speaking when they were asked about the status of the hired South African lawyers by the Parliamentary Committee Wednesday, Mec Chief Election Officer Sam Alfandika and Mec legal counsel Davie Banda told the committee that Mec is in dilemma to bring the lawyers in the country ahead of the commencement of the case.
According to the Mec officials, they will have to ask the government to exempt the lawyers so that they proceed to represent Mec when the hearing starts on April 15.
“Bringing of hired SA lawyers is a challenge for us as Mec. We are currently in discussion with responsible authorities including the lawyers themselves to see how this can be worked on, and it is something that needs to be worked out,” Alfandika said.
Banda, however, said Mec will be asking authorities for the lawyers to be tested on arrival and be exempted if they will be tested negative of coronavirus.
During the appearance before the committee, Mec officials disclosed that the fresh elections would be jeopardised if the lockdown, especially in countries where Mec is supposed to procure election materials such as ballot papers and ink is upheld.
Mec also insisted that it will use the simple majority election process until the Supreme Court of Appeal decides otherwise.
The Constitutional Court ruled on February 3 that Mec must use the 50 percent+1 electoral system which defines majority vote.
However the committee’s Chairperson, Kenzie Msukwa accused the commission of disobeying the ruling by the Constitutional Court.
“Mec is in an awkward situation because they are dancing to the tune of the ruling party and not the wish of Malawians,” Msukwa said.