Uncertainty over June 29 by-elections


The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says the June 29 by-elections would be suspended if new commissioners are not appointed before the polls.

MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale said this in a statement today following the High Court’s decision to fire four commissioners because they were illegally appointed. The ruling has left MEC with two commissioners and the chairperson.

Kachale said the remaining members have no authority to make resolutions, decisions or determinations based on the commission’s constitutional mandate.

He noted that the commission will be monitoring the situation considering that the court has ordered the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to submit names of commissioners within seven days from June 2.

“If these matters are not resolved in a timely manner, our capacity to determine electoral complaints and results of the by-elections will be legally impaired.

“In that event, by operation of the law, the by-elections set for 29t June, 2021 will have to be considered suspended until the commission is legally constituted,” said Kachale.

He, however said the commission will continue implementing activities that are based on decisions and resolutions already made before the June 2 ruling.

The High Court on Tuesday fired commissioners Arthur Nanthulu, Steve Duwa, Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga saying they were illegally appointed by former President Peter Mutharika.

According to the court, Mutharika was supposed to appoint three commissioners submitted by the DPP and three by the Malawi Congress Party but he appointed four from the DPP.