Political parties in Parliament are to identify new Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Commissioners while waiting for President Peter Mutharika (APM) to assent to the amendment of the Electoral Commission Act.
Public Appointments Committee (Pac) Chairperson, Collins Kajawa, said his committee will examine the candidates once APM assents to the Bill.
“The parties should be ready with the names so that we can scrutinise and usher them into office as soon as possible,” he said.
The Bill also enables parliament to scrutinize names of the proposed commissioners before sending them to the President.
It further gives a chance to political party represented in parliament to nominate commissioners.
Kajawa said the recommendations were sent to Mutharika on February 19, 2020 and expects the President to act on them by March 15.
“We wanted to give the President some reasonable time. I am seeing March 15 reasonable, so if he doesn’t assent to the Bill by then, we will turn to our lawyers for advice,” he said.
But President Mutharika’s spokesperson, Mgeme Kalilani, earlier told Times, that the President will exercise his discretion as the law requires, saying he cannot be forced to fire the commissioners.
Commenting on Kajawa’s recommendation, Malawi Congress Party spokesperson, Reverend Maurice Munthali, said the party appreciates the time factor in the process and should be ready with names anytime as required.
He said the party will nominate people of integrity to manage the election.
“We have learnt our lessons. The election was marred by irregularities and everybody saw this. We need to nominate people who will make sure that everything goes according to law,” Munthali said.
United Democratic Front Secretary General, Kandi Padambo, said nomination of Mec commissioners is a familiar territory to them. UTM spokesperson Joseph Chidanti Malunga and Democratic Progressive Party’s Nicholas Dausi were not readily available.
The commissioners, who are chaired by Justice Jane Ansah, are Linda Kunje, Mary Nkosi, Jean Mathanga, Moffat Banda, Yahaya M’madi, Elvey Mtafu, Kilion Mgawi and Clifford Baloyi.