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MPs summon AG Kaphale, Jane Ansah

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KAPHALE—I will personally go there

The Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament is tomorrow expected to meet Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Jane Ansah and Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale over a new date for the fresh presidential election.

Ansah recently backtracked on her earlier announcement that the court-ordered poll would be held on July 2 by declaring that Mec has no power to set election dates.

She then shifted the task to Parliament which had amended the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA) so that the fresh poll could be held on May 19 before President Peter Mutharika refused to assent to the bill.

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Confirming the summoning of the two public officers, Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson Kezzie Msukwa said: “We also want to agree with Mec on a date that will be aligned to the Supreme Court of Appeal judgement so that we are talking the same language.”

Mec recently proposed that the fresh election should be held on June 23, saying that will give the electoral body enough time to announce the results within the eight days as required by law.

According to Msukwa, the Legal Affairs Committee will also discuss with Ansah and Kaphale Mutharika’s recommendations on the rejected election bills.

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The President refused to assent to four bills that Parliament had passed in line with the Constitutional Court judgement which had called on the lawmakers to put in place an enabling framework for holding the fresh poll.

“We want the Attorney General to articulate some of the reasons in not assenting to the bills and to make sure that we are on the same page on the understanding of the Supreme Court of Appeal judgement,” Msukwa said.

In a separate interview Tuesday, Kaphale confirmed to have received an invitation from Parliament and said he was going to attend the meeting.

“I have received a letter asking me to go there, relating to the issue of the date of election. I will personally go there,” Kaphale said.

We did not manage to get a comment from Ansah on the summoning by Parliament.

Parliament in February amended the PPEA and the Electoral Commission Acts which, among other things, provide guidelines in case of an election runoff and for the appointing of Mec commissioners.

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