A veteran prominent lawyer has advised president Lazarus Chakwera to seek High Court opinion on the embattled two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners.
This follows a heated legal debate on whether Chakwera can fire Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje or not after parliament’s Public Appointments Committee recommended to the president to fire the two commissioners.
“My simple answer is this: the State President should refer the matter to the High Court for its opinion as to whether the recommendations from PAC are in line with the Constitution and Electoral Commission Act,” says Kasambara in a Facebook post.
Kasambara says the president should pose the following questions to the High Court as referral issues; whether the current Electoral Commission is properly constituted or is validly constituted in line with the written laws of Malawi; if not whether the State President can dissolve the same to appointment new commissioners.
“In the unlikely event that the High Court answers the first question in the affirmative, the State President is better advised to leave matters as they are.
“He should simply go to the public stands, fold his hands and watch other stakeholders embark on legal fights,” he says.
Kasambara says the recommendations by PAC to the President to fire the two MEC members over incompetence they exhibited during last MECs cohort tenure was decided by former president Peter Mutharika and the issue was left to lie till the last MEC cohort finished it’s term of office.
He said president Lazarus Chakwera commenced legal action challenging the two MEC members but later on voluntarily abandoned the case.
He says Mutharika appointed new MEC that includes those two Commissioners and no one challenged their appointment.
“They hold fresh presidential elections that we all claimed were free and fair. Current President is elected.
“They again hold bye elections where MCP is victorious. Now you turn around and say they should be fired for incompetence. Which incompetence? Incompetence under Justice Dr Ansah leadership? Or incompetence under Justice Dr Kachale? Please be serious,” he says.
DPP has since called on the Malawi Congress Party-led government to nullify the June 2020 presidential election results for failing to issue letters of appointment to two electoral commissioners.
The party’s spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira said: “The commissioners were reappointed MEC commissioners on June 7, 2020, and were sworn in three days later. However, up until now the government has not given them their letters of appointment and yet they have continued to work and have been an integral part of the administration of the June 23, 2020, presidential election as well as several by-elections which have been conducted since.”
He said if the government felt the two commissioners were performing their job illegally, then all elections of which the commissioners had been part should be nullified – starting with the presidential election which declared Chakwera the new president.
Chakwera stated in November last year that he would not issue them with letters of appointment because they had been found to be “incompetent” by the public appointments committee of parliament and the supreme court of appeal.
In August last year, Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe gave legal opinion to the office of the president and cabinet to formally write appointment letters for the two commissioners.
Mathanga and Kunje were appointed by former president and DPP leader Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika appointed Chifundo Kachale as new chairperson of the MEC on June 8, 2020. He also appointed other electoral commissioners and reappointed Kunje and Mathanga as electoral commissioners.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :