President Lazarus Chakwera has said credibility of elections is a key ingredient in consolidating democracy.
Chakwera said this in Lilongwe Thursday when Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) officials presented to him a report on the May 21 2019 tripartite and the June 23 2020 court-ordered presidential elections.
Chakwera hailed the current cohort of Mec commissioners for professionally handling elections in the past couple of months.
“When an institution of this nature grows strong, acts independently, follows the rule of law and delivers its mandate, Malawians everywhere begin to trust institutions that are operating according to their mandate.
“And that trust helps in not only consolidating democracy; it also helps consolidate institutionalism and the rule of law across the board. It is also important that issues that get raised are also followed up, in terms of those in the electoral body that neglect their duty or abuse their office, particularly those issues that have been highlighted in the 2019 tripartite elections [report] are also followed up by the commission,” Chakwera said.
He pledged the government’s support in ensuring that Mec had adequate resources for use in carrying out its mandate as well as ensuring that the legal and regulatory operating environment remains conducive.
Mec Chairperson Judge Chifundo Kachale said, even though the commission is an independent institution, it must be accountable for how it has conducted or discharged its functions.
Kachale said it was for this purpose only that Mec reports directly to the President.
Section 6(1) of the Electoral individual member and employee of the commission shall perform the functions and exercise the powers provided for in this Act independently of the direction or interference of (a) any public office; (b) any organ of the government; (c) any political party; (d) any candidate; or (e) any person whosoever or organisation whatsoever.
“Provided that, for the purpose only of accountability, the commission shall be answerable, and report directly, to the President on the overall fulfilment of the functions and powers of the commission”.
Kachale said it was encouraging that Malawians were appreciating efforts Mec is putting in place to ensure that it administers credible elections in the country.
“The commission wishes to reaffirm its commitment to holding elections that are free, fair and credible to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. The commission will remain impartial, nonpartisan and professional in the execution of its mandate,” Kachale said.
On constituency and ward boundaries review process, Kachale said implementation of activities towards the initiative had commenced, adding that Mec is now receiving submissions from the public up to October 20.
He observed that Mec has also set up boundary review committees in all the councils that will work under the delegated authority of the commission to conduct site visits and make recommendations to the commission of the actual boundaries in line with the determination of the number of constituencies which the commission has determined in accordance with factors and guidelines set by the law.