The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has faulted some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) leaders for “deliberately misleading” the nation by distorting facts to suit their agenda.
The electoral body expressed its dismay in a reaction to a statement activists Billy Mayaya, Gift Trapence, Dorothy Ngoma, Robert Mkwezalamba, Rev Macdonald Sembereka, Leon Matanda and Desmond Mhango, issued out over the weekend.
The activists in their statement branded the Commission’s decision to postpone the by-elections slated for June 6, 2017 because of lack of resources, as an affront to the flourishing of democracy in this country.
They demanded for the resignation of the Mec Chairperson, Justice Ansah on the grounds that she could no longer be trusted with organizing elections in the country.
But Mec’s acting Chief Elections Officer, Thandie Nkovole has hit back at the CSOs leaders, accusing them of ignoring facts on the ground and engaging in utterances that distort the truth.
“The Commission would like to express its concern over the deliberate tendency of ignoring facts on the ground and engaging in utterances that distort the truth and hell-bent towards misinforming the public for whatever reason it is yet to establish,” said Nkovole in a press statement issued out on Monday evening.
Nkovole has urged the activists to always crosscheck their facts first before going public with their utterances that eventually mislead the nation.
“MEC is also concerned with the deliberate distortion of truth that its chairperson is against the change of electoral system to embrace the Absolute Majority (not simple majority as put in the statement). MEC announced on April 20,2017 that it was postponing by-elections because government was not in a position to release funding for the polls.
“This has been collaborated by the Secretary to The Treasury through interviews granted to the media and also a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning on April 21, 2017 on the same.”
She argued that Ansah in the interview with the media, called for speedy implementation of the reforms which are currently under consideration of the Special Law Commission, adding that the 50+1 being referred to is for presidential elections only and not parliamentary elections as alluded to in the statement by the civil society activists.
“All electoral stakeholders should be aware that the date for conducting Tripartite Elections is fixed in the Constitution and Mec has a responsibility to ensure that everything is done on time. Being cautious of this, the Chairperson was calling on the offices involved in the electoral reforms process that they should do everything on time so that there is ample time for effective implementation ahead of 2019 elections,” added Nkovole.
She highlighted that Mec manages elections according to the existing laws and should the guiding legislation change, the Commission will have to abide by that.
“The Commission is urging all stakeholders that its doors are always open should one want to seek clarification on matters of elections management. This will help in building an informed citizenry and avoid confusions created by misinformation.
Mec recently announced it has put on hold plans to conduct by-elections in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, Lilongwe City South East Constituency, Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency and Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency.
The postponement of the by-elections has infuriated opposition political parties who have since accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of being behind the move, but the party has swiftly denied the allegations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :