President Peter Mutharika has written the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and political parties asking for names of people to be appointed Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) chairperson and commissioners.
This follows the imminent expiry of terms of the current commissioners—on June 5—and the resignation of Jane Ansah as the electoral body’s chairperson.
Ansah threw in the towel after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court, that had heard the election petition case as constitutional referral, that Mec had mismanaged the 2019 presidential election.
Mutharika’s spokesperson, Mgeme Kalilani, confirmed that the President has written both the JSC and political parties requesting them to submit names to his office.
“I can confirm that President Mutharika has written the Judicial Service Commission requesting it to submit to his office names of nominated judges to be considered for appointment as Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.
“The communication was sent to the commission through the Office of President and Cabinet on Tuesday May 25 2020,” Kalilani said.
High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal Registrar, Agnes Patemba, confirmed receiving the communication from the President.
Mutharika has also written political parties that are eligible to nominate members from their parties for the appointment of Mec commissioners ahead of the fresh presidential election.
Kalilani said the parties ought to submit the names before the end of this month.
“President Peter Mutharika has written political parties entitled to nominate members of the Electoral Commission, requesting them to submit names of individuals to be considered for appointment as Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners. The communication to the parties was made yesterday [Wednesday] May 25 2020,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the new Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act of 2018 which stipulates that only parties with 10 percent representation in Parliament can submit names, only Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are supposed to submit the names.
Both DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi and MCP Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka indicated that their respective parties are ready to submit the names.
On February 3 2020, the Constitutional Court nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election on the basis of systematic and widespread irregularities.
On May 8, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s verdict and ‘reluctantly’ agreed that the fresh election should be held within 150 days from the date the Constitutional Court delivered its judgment.