Lawyers question secrecy on MEC Chair nominations: Kanyongolo says more than one nomination unconstitutional 

Malawi’s legal fraternity is questioning the manner in which the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has, secretly, submitted more than one nominee to the  appointing authority – Head of State – for the position of the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

Soko: The JSC should have made public the names it has submitted to the President

The MEC chairperson position is currently vacant following the resignation of Jane Ansah.

JSC  has submitted four names for which President Peter Mutharika will appoint next MEC chairperson.

Renowned private practice lawyer Khumbo Soko ignited the debate on social media, writing: “We have a needless culture of secrecy here. The JSC should have made public the names it has submitted to the President for appointment as EC members. Same with [political] parties.”

Some legal minds concurred with Soko.

Qatar-based legal practitioner Timothy Nundwe commented: “This is why there is no accountability within the public service. All democratic countries are running accountable  public institutions but in Malawi we still maintain the secrecy of the colonial governors.”

Reports indicate that the JSC submitted four names before the President but both the JSC and State House have kept a tight lid on the names.

Another private practice lawyer, Trevor Chimimba, has questioned why JSC submitted more than one nominee.

He wrote: “Why is the JSC submitting more than one nominee? The Constitution says the chairperson shall be nominated by the JSC not candidates for the chair. And then we complain that the President has too much power.”

Reacting to this, Constitutional law expert Edge Kanyongolo of  the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, said the move is totally strange.

He wrote: “This is not just strange, but unconstitutional and thus probably invalid.”

Malawi electoral laws, apart from empowering JSC to nominate a judge to be appointed MEC chairperson, also empower JSC to nominate MEC commissioners, not being less than six, provided by the parties.

According to University of Malawi’s Chancellor College law professor Garton Kamchedzera, the minimum number of commissioners, as the law provides, is six, but this number can shoot depending on political parties that have qualified to make nominations.

The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) will share the number of MEC commissioners as they are the only parties represented in Parliament that qualify to submit names of candidates as per the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Act 2017.

The country is scheduled to hold the court-ordered fresh presidential election within 150 days from February 3 2020.

MEC recently set  June 23 as polling date.

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Malawi belong to the citizens
Guest

There is sense in what the lawyers are complaining.If the constitution gives power to the judicial service committee to appoint commissioners, they have to choose, u can not give all powers to one person.Malawians learn to be open zomabitsazi sidzabwino,anthu azikhala ngati nthawi ya asamunda.Munthalika akasankha wakwao mudzidzawonongetsa akatundu awathu.Coz Munthalika doesn’t care about malawians.Action speaks louder than words.There are also education savages in the world too.It looks like when time has come to move forward other people are pulling backwards.If the judicial service committee is doing this today, that’s bad.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Zaka zonsezi timapanga choncho momwemu….lero malawyer mukuwerenga kwambiritu. ..kungomva kuti zalowa libolonje mwati muyikepo nzeru zanu zopusazo. ..munali kuti abongololo. ….kkkkpanyapanu

Analyst
Guest
Analyst

Koma law ndi ya uchitsiru bwanji. Issue imodzi imakhala ndi ma views ambiri osiyanasiyana koma onse akuti ma experts. That’s why I admire scientists such as engineers etc. They have a common view. Not lawyers kufuna kutchuka zachabechabe.

Okatraz
Guest
Okatraz

Law is a stupid career … for people who cant think.its better do sciences

CADET NO. 1
Guest

“MAN MADE LAW” is a “Hell” on its own for all “SECULAR STATES”. Too much contradictions among scholars of its field – Shame.

Bauleni
Guest

Sadly we have too many self annointed law experts. If you knew all this before Mr so called expert, why didnt you say something? Musiye kunamiza anthu. The JSC only nominates for the president to appoint.The law leaves discretion to the office of the president to appoint or refuse the nominated candidates.To avoid this back and forth between appointing and nominating authority, common law encourages the practice of nominating 3 or more candidates equally suitable for the post for the president to appoint without having a mary go round. whether the president is Chakwera or Munthalika. Osamango lubwalubwa.

The Patriot
Guest
The Patriot

Apparently our lawyers cannot understand this simple fact

Josh
Guest
Josh

I’m not a lawyer and I would like to agree with Bauleni and the Patriot. If nomination can be only be one name then that is as good as appointing. It is common practice to nominate at least 3, then appointing authority picks one. A good example is the appointment of the Auditor General. Practicing accountants apply and attend interviews, and the names of three successful candidates are then sent to the Head of State who is is supposed to choose one. It boggles the mind that any nominating authority would only nominate ONE name, without giving the appointing authority… Read more »

Zera
Guest
Zera

You are right. Nominated names need to be more than one so that the president can appoint one. The problem we currently have is that some foolish lawyers and judges are trying to bend laws in order to give advantage to the opposition.

Phwisa
Guest
Phwisa

Tell me who comprise the Judicial Service Commission.

G Zali
Guest
G Zali

pitala is dragging the whole Malawi to the grave with him

Keen Observer
Guest
Keen Observer

So we have a long way to go as a nation? Though I’m a layman in regards to the issues of law but it doesn’t make sense for the JSC to give 4 names cos that is as good as Mutharika just picking whoever he wants.

Maunits
Guest
Maunits

Dziko lathu lomwe koma eniake afe tikupanga zinthu ngati ndife ma Burundilians kuti akanmva izi we will be deported. Very bad the experts here are correct for sure. That is why dpp is trapped in autocracy because of the way we are doing our things. What you shoud know dpp sidawine chisankho pa 21 May nkana Muthalika ango lubwalubwa mu town he knows sangaberenso sangawinenso ngakhale atapita kwasing’anga, this time around. Malawi is on the Map now musamve za Muthjalika zoti akutiseka kunja he is a liar tiyeni tisawonenge dziko ayi.

Kalulu Wadwala
Guest

Bravo our learned lawyers and some patriotic malawians like Yeremiya chihana for opening our eyes. Our nation is a sick society which has been exploited by crooks . We need to rid ourselves of evil people. Listening to Chihana yesterday I was shocked to learn that my taxes and other malawians.
are paying for a loan to china for a property that doesn’t belong to malawians
Now the secrecy in appointing MEC chair. The the tobacco deal where someone pocketed dollars .Malawi is changing and changing for the better. Everything will be exposed

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