Malawi elections not on June 23: Attorney General scoffs at Parliamentary Committee

Attorney General (AG) has said the June 23 polling date is not set and has advised the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee that the resolutions the committee made after their consultations with stakeholders, including Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), were errors of law, saying it is the whole National Assembly that can decide on voting day not a committee.

Attorney General Kalekeni Kamphale faults Legal Affairs Committee

In his letter to the committee dated May 22 2020, the country’s top lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale said the committee “misdirected itself” and committed a “grave error of law” by believing that it can resolve to set a date for the fresh presidential election and dictate the same to MEC.

“To begin with, your committee is not Parliament at all, it is simply a committee of Parliament,” write the AG.

In his letter, Kaphale refers the committee to page 124 of the judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal which states “It is important that parliament fixes the date of a fresh election.”

Kaphale observed that the order by the court was made on the basis of Section 80 (1) of the Constitution which states that the President shall be elected in the ballot concurrently with the general elections for members of parliament.

“We are here dealing with a situation where the date for the fresh Presidential election will not be the same as the one for the general election of members of the National Assembly, and Section 80 (1) of the Constitution makes it clear that can only happen when the Constitution provides for it. This is done through an amendment to Section 677 (1) of the Constitution,” reads the letter from AG.

He said only the whole Parliament sitting and not a Committee can effect the legislative intervention to enact the new date of polling.

Kaphale also queried the Legal Affairs Committee for engaging private lawyers in the matter when Attorney General is the government chief legal adviser.

“I am aware that your committee is using services of external lawyers other than my office. Could you please be kind enough to avail me their written advice to you on this point as you had the liberty to avail them mine?

“I am also curious to know if all of them hold current practicing licences to enable them render the services they are doing to the Committee, for a fee.”

Kaphale said his suspicion is that some of them may not be holding current practicing licences.

Attorney General told the committee that he is open to further consultation on the subject and that in case his advice is not taken, he would give his authority to an external lawyer of the committee’s choice, on his account, to seek judicial interpretation of the relevant laws.

Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Kezzie Msukwa said the committee was seeking advice elsewhere because it is in their view that Kaphale is “compromised” and not neutral in the matter.

Kaphale told the committee that in his view, MEC cannot hold a genuine fresh presidential election within the set 150-day period.

He said apart from MEC commissioners whose contracts are expiring on June 5 2020, Parliament has to amend Section 67(1) of the Constitution to provide for a date for the ‘stand alone’ election of the President, which will not take place concurrently with the election of members of the National Assembly.

Further, wonders where the new MEC will be able to procure polling materials from abroad when the world is in a virtual lockdown due to Covid-19.

He said ballot papers are always on security paper and there is no security printer in Malawi.

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Phwisa
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Phwisa

Very good advice. Legal affairs committee should be professional not like the useless public affairs committee of parliament

Neil Mzo
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Neil Mzo

This is Malawi. Even those that are known or claim to be experts make impractical decisions, recommend what is easier said than done. When shall we learn to be serious? Phew!

Jose
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Jose

Speaker just ask question on this matter those saying No those saying yes.Then what so ever the case this will be to your discretion that the Yes has it no voting the ball is in your court whether to allow evil take place in your face dont allow it people are tired just say the yes has it close the chapter the whole country our children should not be spoiled by an old cluless leader a man without humanity how can the whole president and his cruel govt not issue a statement feeling sorry for a family innocently burned while… Read more »

Mbonga Matoga
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Mbonga Matoga

Mr Kaphale well said, but what about the K300 you received from MEC, was that an error in law too?

As a civil servant and government legal adviser of the government were you supposed to get a pay out from representing the same government you work for?

Jose
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Jose

Just go to parliament the motion shall be to endorse the 23 rd June 2020 elections.If some one will buy mps to sabotage democracy becoz he is ruling yet without mandate from people just being there to destroy malawi.if such mps becoz they come from region A this is not malawi we want.just becoz you are of tribe x you support nonses. The consequences according to supreme court ruling is that there will be no president.There will be also no acting president and vice becoz that period is gone.two months is gone becoz concourt erred to revert back anthu dziko… Read more »

mbewe
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mbewe

within masiku omwe tiri nawo ndizosatheka kuti chisankho chichitike ndibwino chisankho chizacitike mocedwa koma zinthu zonse zikhare muchimake moyenelera komaso mwadongosolo tisapange phuma amalawi azanga ndizambiri zimene zikufunika kuti zichitike zikonzedwe kuti chisankho chizakhare chovomerezeka ndi mbari zonse koposaposa ngati tizitengere chibwana mikangano yomwe idariko mbuyomu ipitilirabe ndipo anthu ambiri azaluza miyoyo ndiye tiyeni tidekhe posatengera mbari yomwe tiri what we need ndi mtendere komaso bata dzikoli ndi lathu basi we are all malawians kaya tikusiyna pandare,zipembedzo koma tiyeni tigwirane manja tipange chisankho chokomera aliyense ndipo anthu onse azavomerezedi .

Galu #1
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Galu #1

Mr. AG beware joker ukufelani mu manja. Once the alliance is in boma all these people at the state house will run away and you will remain answerable to your actions.

Dpp handed back to udf
Guest

Kaphale I had respect for you but now that is gone. Intelligence and wisdom are two different things. When did the courts rule that we need fresh elections? Why did you not advise your nkhalamba to appoint a new commission? It’s now becoming clear that you wanted to use coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to hold on to power. Can you stop the cells of agogo Pitala from further deterioration? No one can stop the time. No one can stop ageing. If agogo has reached his expiry date just accept it. He has done. He has reached 80 an age… Read more »

Ayobe
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Ayobe

Kaphale can certainly dish it out, but he can’t take. His every word oozes with condescension, disdain and insult. But when the same is returned to him he quickly gets angry. The Supreme Court ruling alluded to his quick temper as not becoming of someone holding such an important public office; but it seems he did not learn anything from this chiding. From the middle of the ConCourt trial it was interesting to see that witnesses had taken the measure of him and would answer his questions in the same rude way that he asked them. Sometimes the Judges would… Read more »

Nalingula
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Nalingula

I have said it before ….The whole country must go down with them….That’s what they want …When you give a Country to People who can’t think Beyond their Stomaches that’s what Happens …It’s not Easy to Give up Power ….It’s not Easy to accept Change ….Osamaphweketsa Zomwe Kamuzu amapanga ….Ngakhale Ena amatoulirira u champion wa Democracy Yapakamwa…..

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