List of new commissioners illegal – MCP

…Lawyer Kasambara says DPP was supposed to have three commissioners

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General Esenhower Mkaka says the list of new commissioners of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is illegal because the appointment of the commissioners is against electoral laws.

Mkaka was reacting to Mutharika’s appointment of new commissioners of the MEC on Sunday.

The new commissioners are Arthur Nanthuru, Steve Duwa, Dr Jean Mathanga, Linda Kunje, Dr Anthony Mukumbwa and Mrs Olivia Liwewe.

Out of the six, only Mukumbwa and Liwewe were nominated by the Malawi Congress Party. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nominated the other four commissioners.

Mutharika also retained Mathanga and Kunje who were in the previous commission which was described as incompetent by the Supreme Court.

Mkaka, in his reaction, said the list is illegal due to the retained commissioners and because it is against the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act of 2018.

“Mr Mutharika is holding himself as the Judiciary, Legislature and the Executive at the same time! It is an open defiance to the Judiciary and Legislature! This too will fail,” he wrote on Facebook.

Law expert Ralph Kasambara suggested that Mutharika’s DPP and the MCP were supposed to have equal number of commissioners at MEC.

“The law is clear as to which parties were required to submit names to the president. Only those that achieved 10 per cent of national parliamentary vote.

“Again the law is clear that the appointment of Commissioners is proportional to the nominating parties’ representation in the National Assembly.

“Again no party was to submit more than 3 names meaning no party was to have more than 3 of its nominees appointed as Commissioners,” said Kasambara.

He also faulted Mutharika for retaining Mathanga and Kunje saying they were not suitable for appointment because they were part of the commission that was declared incompetent by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The new commissioners are expected to oversee the 2020 fresh elections which are expected to be held this month.