Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioner Dr Jean Mathanga has called upon Members of the District Elections Support Team (DEST) in districts where by-elections will be held to ensure that the elections satisfy all the legal requirements.
Her remarks come following courts’ decision to nullify three parliamentary elections results in three constituencies of Chikwawa East, Nsanje North and Nsanje Central due to a number of irregularities which have necessitated holding of by elections in these constituencies alongside other four constituencies and two wards where sitting MPs and ward councilors passed away.
Speaking when she addressed DEST members for Chikwawa, Commissioner Mathanga said it is the duty of all polling staff to ensure that the electoral body achieves its obligation of having credible elections.
She added having a free and fair elections helps in fostering trust among electoral stakeholders as well as removing any form of doubt among competing parties that would make them to challenge the outcome of the elections in court.
She added that when the elections outcome is challenged, it does not only costs the electoral body its credibility but it also costs the country a lot of money.
Mathanga said: “First of all I was just reminding them that we are here to conduct the by-elections after the courts sanctioned us to re do this exercise. That is a key factor they should bear in mind.
“So I was emphasizing to them on the importance of sticking to all legal requirements this time around and also to be as professional as possible. This shall help us to prevent all the irregularities which the courts found in previous election.
“As MEC we wouldn’t want to be asked to re do this exercise again. It’s not only expensive but it is also an inconvenience to the voters.”
On his part Director for administration at Chikwawa District Council, Paul Mchombo said he was optimistic that the DEST members shall be able to foster strict adherence of rule of law during the by elections as it is comprised of various heads in government departments.
Last year, the constitutional court also nullified the 2019 election presidential results on similar grounds and ordered for fresh elections which were held in June.