The High Court in Blantyre has thrown out an application by opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) challenging the appointment of Malawi Electoral Commissioners (MEC) by President Joyce Banda.
On May 19, President Joyce Banda appointed the 10 commissioners after consulting political parties to nominate candidates to be considered for appointment as MEC Commissioners.
The DPP therefore responded by nominating four candidates. However, the party a was perplexed upon learning out of the four it is only Emeritus Bishop Bernard Malango who was appointed.
Lawyer representing the party Ted Roka in an interview said the DPP was seeking redress on the process of consultation before the appointment of the commissioners.
He said one of the party’s arguments was that the process did not amount to any consultation as required by Section 4 sub section 1 of the Electoral Commission Act but rather just a request for the parties to submit names.
“Nominating names is not consultation, the party wanted to be given an opportunity to also know the names of the other nominees apart from the four they nominated. The party feels that merely asking for names is not adequate consultation,” said Roka.
The case was dismissed on Thursday by High Court Judge Anaclet Chipeta.
Roka could not immediately say whether the party would appeal against the ruling.
However, the decision by DPP to challenge appointment of the Commissioners is seen by many as hypocritical, as the party under late president Bingu wa Mutharika never consulted any of the country’s political parties when it appointed the Justice Anastasia Msosa led Commission in the run up to the 2009 polls.
DPP in now being run by late Mutharika’s brother, Peter Mutharika, a law professor.
President Banda appointed Rev. Allan Chiphiko, Rev. Mezua Banda, Bertha Simwaka, Elby Mtafu, Wellington Nakanga, Nancy Tembo, Gloria Chingota, Rev. Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri, Stanly Billiati and Bishop Malango as commissioners.
Malawi’s Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections are scheduled for May 2014. A bill to regularize the holding of tripartite elections is still before Parliament.