High Court judge Kenyatta Nyirenda on Monday granted leave for opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera to move for judicial review against the appointment of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga.
President Peter Mutharika retained the two commissioners from a MEC team which Parliament deemed incompetent in the management of the nullified May 21 2019 presidential election.
Mathanga was nominated by Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) while Kunje whose first entry in MEC was on People’s Party (PP) ticket , also got nominated this time around on DPP slot.
MCP petitioned the High Court to seek a permanent interpretation on whether it is Constitutionally in order for the ruling party to have four Commissioners against its two.
Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee, acting on recommendations from the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the presidential election on February 3, assessed the competence of the then commissioners and recommended their dismissal.
Reads the committee’s report: “These commissioners breached the law by running a flawed election whose process was marred with serious irregularities and illegalities…”
Besides Mathanga and Kunje, the new MEC team, chaired by Lilongwe-based High Court Judge Chifundo Kachale, also includes lawyer Arthur Nanthuru, Steve Duwa, Anthony Mukumbwa and Olivia Liwewe.
Mukumbwa and Liwewe were two of the three names nominated by MCP.
MCP legal counsel Titus Mvalo said they have sought clarification on the matter from the courts.
“We have applied for a judicial review on the appointment of MEC commissiomers,” Mvalo said.
Mvalo pointed out that newly-amended Presidential and Parliamentary Elections act gives priviledge to political parties with 10 percent representation in Parliament and that DPP and MCP could have shared the same number of commissioners.
The commentators fear the legal challenge on commissioners Mathanga and Kunje in the new team mau delay the court-ordered fresh presidential election tentatively set for June 23.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :