Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country will hold demonstrations in Lilongwe City South Constituency over failure of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to conduct by-elections in the constituency.
MEC said it had no money for the by-elections which were slated for 6 June, a development that triggered public debate.
According to a statement signed by three CSO leaders namely Billy Mayaya, Gift Trapence and Reverend Mcdonald Sembereka, the demonstrations will take place on 29th June.
The CSOs argue that 60 days have passed but the parliamentary seat for Lilongwe City South constituency is still vacant.
“We would like to reiterate our stand that Malawi Republican Constitution is clear about the timeframe in which the vacant parliamentary seats must be filled. The sixty (60) day threshold is clear and not a matter of public debate. It is the duty of MEC to ensure that there are adequate resources to facilitate the holding of free, fair and accessible by-elections,” reads part of the statement.
According to the statement, MEC’s claim that it has no money to hold the by-elections is unjustifiable since the electoral body is given money for by-elections each financial year.
“Similarly, the Parliamentary Committee on Assurance and Public Sector Reforms said that MEC’s claims that it has no funds is inexcusable. It is on record that in any given financial year MEC is supposed to conduct two by-elections. In 2017, Parliament allocated MK1 billion for by-elections and from this allocation MK500 million was disbursed during the 1st November, 2016 by-elections leaving a balance of a half billion for the June by-elections ,” says the statement.
The CSOs have accused MEC under the leadership of its chairperson Jane Ansah of losing track in the process and they want to make sure that justice is done by using all means.
“Justice Jane Ansah is advancing partisan selfish interests with the aim of subverting clear constitutional provision and MEC is deliberately obstructing the holding of by-elections in order to advantage the ruling DPP,” reads the statement.
According to the CSOs, they have lost confidence in Justice Ansah’s ability to carry out the mandate of MEC without bias and undue influence from outside forces.
The CSO leaders believe the conduct of the MEC boss will also compromise the 2019 general elections.