Mutharika’s decision on Ansah, electoral bills unfortunate – analyst

Peter Mutharika is the former President of Malawi

…says APM is playing delaying tactics…

A political analyst has described as unfortunate President Peter Mutharika’s decision not to assent to the four electoral amendment bills and his refusal to fire Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and other MEC commissioners.

On Tuesday, Mutharika rejected four electoral reforms bills including the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections amendment bill (no.2) which set 19 May as date for 2020 fresh elections and provided for a run-off election.

Further to that, Mutharika refused to fire Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah and other MEC commissioners describing as laughable the position that the MEC commissioners lacked competency to manage the 2019 presidential elections.

Reacting to the development, political analyst Wonderful Mkhutche said it is very unfortunate that the president has vehemently rejected to assent to the bills and has also rejected parliamentary Public Appointment Committee’s request to fire MEC commissioners.

In an interview with Malawi24, Mkhutche questioned the reasons Mutharika has provided for his refusal and manner of communication claiming that the president has not taken himself to the frontline of these two issues of public importance.

Wonderful Mkhutche

“It is an unfortunate development looking at the reasons provided and manner of communication. The President has not taken himself to the front line of the issues.

“What follows is a political impasse. Civil Society Organisations, opposition parties and general public will be triggered into forcing the President to sign. This will amount to a political crisis,” said Mkhutche.

On the 2020 elections, Mkhutche said as it stands the election will happen but not in the 150 days as ruled by the Constitutional Court’

He noted that there is need to deal with the delays which he claimed are being deliberately played by Mutharika.

Parliament passed the four electoral bills and inquired into the competence of MEC commissioners following orders by the Constitutional Court that nullified the 2019 presidential elections.

However, the analyst says there is no contempt of court claiming the laws do allow Mutharika to send back bills to Parliament as he has done.

“What he has done is in line with Laws of Malawi. It is just that he overlooked the political consequences on the other hand,” said Mkhutche.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives has written the High Court to determine whether President Peter Mutharika has acted in contempt of the court with his decision not to assent to the electoral reform bills.