Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah has defended the US$788, 500 (over K580 million) legal fees to be paid to South African lawyers, saying democracy is not cheap.
Ansah made the remarks at the National Elections Consultative Forum (NECOF) meeting in Blantyre today.
The commission has hired Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys to represent MEC in the presidential elections appeal case where the commission wants the Supreme Court to overturn the Constitutional Court ruling that nullified the 2019 Presidential Elections.
Ansah justified the costs saying democracy is not cheap. She added that Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale was also getting a monthly payment when he represented the Commission during the elections case at the Constitutional Court.
On hiring local lawyers, Ansah said most senior lawyers told MEC that they are already handling other cases and some who are available refused to represent the commission.
She added that one senior lawyers was interested but said would be free in April which is late since there are a lot of documents for the case.
MEC was forced to hire private lawyers after the Constitutional Court barred the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale from representing the commission in the matter saying he was taking a partisan role.