Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said following it decision to strike the country’s former vice-president Cassim Chilumpha from the presidential list now leaves seven aspirants from the initially approved nine paper in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The candidates to appear on presidential ballot includes incumbent President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Vice-President Saulos Chilima of newly formed UTM Party.
Besides political allies-turned-rivals, Mutharika and Chilima, other candidates in the presidential race are Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front-UDF), Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party-MCP), John Chisi (Umodzi Party-UP), Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development-MMD) and Revelend Kaliya (independent).
Former president Joyce Banda also pulled out from the race and endorsed MCP’s presidential candidate Chakwera.
MEC’s decision to exclude Chilumpha followed a High Court judgement that he could not represent Tikonze People’s Movement (TPM) in the race.
In its statement signed by MEC chief elections officer Sam Alfandika made available to Nyasa Times, the electoral body said Chilumpha would no longer be allowed to contest in the polls following the court judgement.
Reads the MEC statement: “Pursuant to the requirements of the law that governs nomination of candidates for presidential elections, the implication of the court’s decision is that the Right Honourable Chilumpha’s nomination has been rendered invalid.
“The commission has, therefore, struck off his name from the list of candidates duly nominated for election for the office of the President of the Republic of Malawi.”
Chilumpha, a lawyer, has described the decision as “absurd and a mockery” to the country’s laws.
He said: “You see what the judge said in his judgement was that I am not barred from contesting. He only said I could not represent TPM based on the arguments that were made.
“But just a few days after that the electoral body has decided to bar me completely from standing in the elections. That speaks volumes of a conspiracy that has been going on.”
TPM was a merger of six political parties—Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (Mafunde), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), New Labour Party (NLP), Republican Party (RP), Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) and Assembly for Democracy and Development (ADD).
Chilumpha said time and resources are not on his side to pursue the case, but cautioned that “the bigger picture is that this kind of unfairness will someday haunt this country.”
Printing of ballot papers is currently in progress at Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC, Dubai in United Arab Emirates.
MEC Director of Media and Public Relations, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said said the ballot papers will be ready for shipping to Malawi by April 30.
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