The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has proposed a change in electoral laws to screen out jokers in the nomination process.
The commission’s chairperson Jane Ansah made the remarks on Wednesday in Mangochi when MEC met with stakeholders.
During the presentation of nomination papers for the 2020 presidential elections, six presidential hopefuls did not present their papers.
Some withdrew at the last minute while others failed to meet requirements such as payment of nomination fees and collection of signatures from registered voters in every district.
Ansah noted during the meeting that this led to questions over the credibility and seriousness of the nomination process.
She said the current laws provide for the Commission to receive the nomination papers in the open hence the commission cannot bar someone from presenting their nomination papers.
“The law requires that the nomination fees should be deposited at the time of submitting the nomination papers.
“However, if this is changed to the effect that candidates and political parties should be paying their nomination fees before collecting the nomination papers it would surely help to take out jokers,” said Ansah.
She added that the commission provides room for advance examination of nomination papers but some candidates ignore this process and usually attempt to present their papers during the televised event.
“These are the ones that also gave challenges during presentation,” said Ansah.
Meanwhile, MEC has approved three candidates and their running mates for the 2020 presidential elections.
The approved candidates are: Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera and his running mate Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP); Mr. Peter Dominic Sinosi Driver Kuwani and runningmate Archbold Kalawang’oma for Mbakuwaku Movement for Development (MMD); and Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and runningmate Mr. Atupele Austin Muluzi for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Candidates who failed to present nomination papers included Ras Chikomeni Chirwa (in the picture), Smart Swira and Hadwick Kaliya.