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 Mec to launch by-elections tomorrow

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Speaker of the House Catherine Gotani Hara then adjourned the House to Monday.

“We cannot work against our standing orders which state that we cannot continue debate beyond the stipulated working hours,” Hara said.

The development did not go down well with lawmakers on the government side of the House who remained seated when Hara was walking out of the Chamber.

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Efforts to talk to Nankhumwa on what happened in the House proved futile.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) member Macdonald Sembereka expressed joy at the blocking of Mwapasa’s appointment.

“We are happy that MPs have blocked the attempt by government to introduce the motion in order to confirm Mwapasa as Inspector General of Malawi Police Service. We expect that the members will maintain their stand not to confirm Mwapasa,” Sembereka said.

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Meanwhile, thousands of protesters in the ongoing Anti-Jane

The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) is expected to hold a stakeholders’ meeting tomorrow to launch Lilongwe South Constituency and Matenje Ward in Kasungu North West Constituency by-elections.

However, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have accused Mec of downplaying people’s emotions arguing people lost trust in the commission and, as such, it cannot go ahead to conduct the by-elections.

UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga said they warned Mec earlier on the dangers of the commission holding anything to do with elections.

“There is a threat to them [Mec] at this time when the environment is not conducive. If they insist, it’s up to them as long as we go on record as to have forewarned them. People have lost trust in Mec, where do they get the energy to conduct elections?” Chidanti said.

MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said Mec should be “ashamed to behave as though nothing happened” in May 21 Tripartite Elections.

“The issue here is not about whether MCP will take legal action or not. Rather it is something to do with moral uprightness and institutional credibility, virtues that are non-existent in our current Electoral Commission.

“Where one’s moral standing is found wanting and, in this particular case, we are talking of Jane Ansah and her Electoral Commission, where do they gather the strength to carry out an exercise that hinges on and demands high moral standards and undoubted credibility,” Mkaka said.

He said MCP has got no intentions to deny people of Lilongwe South Constituency and a ward in Kasungu North West Constituency their right to choose their representatives in both national and local chambers saying it is a law-abiding party.

“All we are sounding is a call loud enough for Mec to know that Malawians have completely lost faith in those behind an institution which has shamelessly messed up an election and robbed the people’s rights and freedom of choice,” he said.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi said, as per the Constitution, Mec is mandated to conduct by-elections as and when the commission is ready to do so.

“We are a law-abiding country, so, as DPP, we do not see anything wrong with Mec’s idea to launch by-elections. Unless we are a lawless country but otherwise we feel it is in order,” he said.

Mec Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa said Mec was not aware of any electoral stakeholder’s concern.

“The people in Lilongwe South and Matenje have no representation in Parliament and local council. This should be a concern to everyone,” he said.

In a statement issued yesterday signed by Mec Chief Elections Officer Sammy Alfandika, Mec has invited all stakeholders to be a part of these meetings.

“All political parties, aspiring candidates, civil society organisations, faith and traditional leaders and members of the public are invited to attend these important meetings.

“During these meetings, Mec commissioners will present the electoral calendar that will outline the timelines for the activities to be implemented in the run-up to the by-elections. Stakeholders will also be given an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications on issues regarding the conduct of the by-elections,” reads part of the statement.

The meetings will take place at Malingunde Teachers Development Centre (TDC) in Lilongwe South Constituency and at Chulu TDC in Kasungu North West Constituency.

Parliamentary elections did not take place in Lilongwe City South during May 21 elections following the death of one of the candidates Agnes Penemulungu who was representing UTM.

While Matenje Ward councillor seat fell vacant following the death of Alex Kambanizithe recently.

Since Mec declared President Peter Mutharika of DPP winner of May 21 polls, tension has been hovering around the country, with some quarters disputing results of the elections.

MCP and UTM are challenging the presidential election results in court, seeking nullification of the results.

Meanwhile, since July, Human Rights Defenders Coalition has been organising nationwide protests demanding the resignation of Mec Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah for allegedly running a fraudulent election.

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