NGO wants Mutharika to be held in contempt of court

One of Malawi’s Non-Governmental Organizations, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), has penned the High Court to determine whether President Peter Mutharika has acted in contempt of court or not.

This follows Tuesday’s development where President 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.

In addition to that, Mutharika also refused to fire 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.

CDEDI has wrote a letter to the High Court which has been signed by acting director Sylvester Namiwa saying the organisation believes Mutharika’s decision not to assent to the bills, is only applicable in the jungle where only the strong survive not in a modern day democracy nation like Malawi.

According to the letter, CDEDI believes that Mutharika’s action has the high potential to affect negatively on the poor and the less privileged claiming his refusal can degenerate the country into a lawlessness state.

“As we are writing this letter, Mutharika has sent back the bills to Parliament and has also refused to act on PAC’s recommendations to fire the commissioners. This is in spite the fact that Malawians followed for themselves the proceedings on radio and television and agreed that they are indeed incompetent to preside over free, fair and credible elections in Malawi.

“It is CDEDI’s considered view that by sending back the bills to Parliament and by not firing the commissioners Mutharika has failed to comply with a constitutional court order, we therefore seek to request the court to hold him in contempt of court order,” reads part of the letter.

However, speaking when addressing the press on Tuesday, Mutharika’s Spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani, cast out arguments that the President is in contempt of court saying the Malawi leader was only exercising his powers.

Concurring with Kalilani, political analyst Wonderful Mkhutche has told Malawi24 that there is no contempt of court claiming the laws do allow president 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.

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