…Is Malawi heading to the polls again?
Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe says Malawi currently has no Electoral Commission and he has advised remaining commissioners to stop discharging their duties.
Silungwe said this on April 13 in a letter addressed to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale.
He was reacting to the decision by the Lazarus Chakwera administration to fire commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga on grounds that they were declared incompetent by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
“One of the effects of the rescission of the appointment of the two Commissioners is that there is no Electoral Commission in accordance with section 75(1) of the Constitution. My advice is that the remaining members of your cohort should not discharge any duty or power of the Electoral Commission under the Constitution or an Act of Parliament until section 75(1) of the Constitution has been complied,” said Silungwe.
Section 75(1) which Silungwe cited states: “There shall be an Electoral Commission which shall consist Commission of a Chairman who shall be a Judge nominated in that behalf by the Judicial Service Commission and such other members, not being less than six, as may be appointed in accordance with an Act of Parliament.”
Kunje and Mathanga were part of the MEC commission which managed the now nullified 2019 elections. The commission was declared incompetent by the Court in May last year.
In June, the then President Peter Mutharika re-appointed the two into the current cohort of MEC commissioners. The current six-member commission managed the 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections in which President Lazarus Chakwera was declared winner.