Disqualify JB, activists ask Malawi Electoral Commission

Civil and human rights activists in Malawi have called upon the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to disqualify President Joyce Banda and her running mate from the May 20 tripartite elections, for failure to resign from public office.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday in Lilongwe,  the activists Mabvuto Bamusi, Phillip Kamangira, Billy Mayaya, Lucky Mbewe and Habiba Osman said the two presented their nomination papers without resigning as president and minister respectively as per section 80 subsection 7 of the country’ constitution.

Mayaya said the implementation of section 80 is critical if the elections are to be free and fair.

Habiba Osman and Mayaya:  Disqualify Joyce Banda
Habiba Osman and Mayaya: Disqualify Joyce Banda

“The resignation of the two should have ensured that they will not be abusing public resources during their campaign,” he said.

Bamusi and Mayaya went on to shade more light that President Banda and Gwengwe have failed to meet constitutional requirements by failing to resign from their offices as stipulated under Section 80 Subsection 7 of the Republican Constitution therefore calling for MEC to disqualify their nominations in the run to May 20,2014 elections.

Osman buttressed the point that President Banda has failed to go by what the constitution states.

The Constitution of Malawi under section 80 subsection 7 states that “no person shall be eligible for nomination as a candidate for election as President if that person is the holder of a public office or a Member of Parliament, unless that person first resigns.”

Opposition candidates who were lawmakers, resigned before submitting their nominations to MEC.

Banda’s presidential adviser on communication and politics Elias Wakuda Kamanga said Banda cannot resign because Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Maxon Mbendera made it clear that there cannot be a power vacuum.

The issue of a level playing field, including access to State broadcasters, was also raised by MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera on Friday after President Joyce Banda presented her nomination papers as presidential candidate for her People’s Party (PP).

Mbendera, who is also a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, asked the President to ensure fair coverage to her challengers on public radio and television.

The activists have also called upon the government to come out in the open to explain how the proceeds of the sold presidential jet were transacted.

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