Chilima blasts MEC for hiring South African lawyers

Vice President Saulos Chilima has faulted the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for hiring South African lawyers to represent the commission in the presidential elections appeal case.

Speaking at a UTM rally at Njamba Park in Blantyre on Saturday, Chilima said the K580 million which the commission is paying the lawyers could have been used for social services had MEC hired local lawyers.

“We reject MEC’S decision to hire lawyers from South Africa, this is a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Chilima.

Last week, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah justified the hiring of the South African lawyers, Mboweni Maluleke Inc Attorneys, saying most senior lawyers are already handling other cases and some who are available refused to represent the commission.

In the elections appeal case, MEC wants the Supreme Court of appeal to overturn a Constitutional Court ruling that nullified the 2019 presidential elections and ordered the commission to hold fresh presidential elections.

The Constitutional Court ruling came after Chilima and Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera challenged the outcome of the 2019 polls over irregularities.

During the rally, Chilima assured his supporters that the Ansah-led MEC commission will be fired.

“The current commissioners will be replaced by new and competent commissioners,” said Chilima.

Last month, the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament found that the MEC commissioners were incompetent in their management of the 2019 elections.

The committee advised President Peter Mutharika to fire the commissioners but the president is yet to act on the recommendation.