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Pac throws out HRDC

Gift Trapence

Joyce Chitsulo

The Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament has told the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to bring more evidence in support of its claim that Malawi Electoral Commission (MCP)’s Richard Chapweteka is partisan.

HRDC leaders appeared before committee members Wednesday after being summoned to make their case following their earlier allegation that Chapweteka, a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) commissioner at the elections body, was partisan.

Pac Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo said evidence which HRDC leaders presented during the meeting was not enough for the committee to take any further action on Chapweteka.

“The coalition should provide enough evidence on its allegations that Commissioner Richard Chapweteka of the Malawi Electoral Commission contravened the law,” she said.

During their appearance, HRDC leaders told committee members that Chapweteka’s comments, on a WhatsApp forum of Chancellor College Class of 1994, that MCP could not lose in a normal election were partisan.

“We maintain that the discussion on the chat portrays bad character of the commissioner,” said HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence, adding that the coalition was ready to make more submissions as demanded by Pac before Monday next week.

In its letter to Pac early this month calling for a probe on Chapweteka, HRDC said, while nomination for the position of Mec commissioners was made by political parties, the law of the land provides that, once the nominees take the oath of office as commissioner, they shall discharge their functions and powers under the law independently from any interference from any person or office.

“Even though Commissioner Chapweteka has since taken the oath of office as a Commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission, he has blatantly, publicly and repeatedly made statements—through his WhatsApp posts— that are partisan and in support of the Malawi Congress Party,” said HRDC in a letter dated October 8 2021

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