Malawi fresh elections might be shifted because of Coronavirus

As the country gears up itself against the  deadly Coronavirus outbreak, debate has started on possibility of postponing the July 2 Fresh Presidential Elections as a preventative measure with electoral stakeholders raising the issue during a National Elections Consultative Forum (NECOF)  on Friday in Mangochi.

Ansah conceded  it might be difficult to conduct the polls due to coronavirus.
Kamuyambeni: let’s postpone elections

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) organised the  meeting held in Mangochi  to brief electoral stakeholders on the state of preparedness for elections.

Taking his turn during the meeting, Reverend Mwayi Kamuyambeni representing the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the country needed to reflect soberly on whether to continue with preparations or wait until the global lock downs are over.

The members also suggested to the electoral body to go to the court and seek an extension to the 150 days order so as to allow for MEC to hold the polls at a later date when the virus threat is contained.

In her response MEC chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah said her organization would not go to the court again because it went there twice but has not been successful.

“It is up to the citizens here also to take action to go to the court and seek relief that with the current threat the Commission may not hold an elections that adheres to all the provisions of the law should cases be reported. As for the MEC we can’t go again because we have been unsuccessful,” she said.

A few weeks ago after the ruling of the Constitutional Court,  the MEC had appealed for stay order of the judgement pending appeal.

MEC also argued that the elections could not be held within 150 if the law would be followed to the letter and wanted to do the elections in October.

Ansah conceded that should the country lockdown, the elections would be affected because most of the materials and equipment are bought from abroad.

“We buy almost everything from outside the country. There are companies that supply us locally for example pens but you will find that they also buy them from outside.

“We can also not print ballot papers locally, because we don’t have a security printer. If it comes to such a situation whereby, we cannot get anything from outside the country we will have no option but succumb and postpone the polls,” she said.

Another delegate wondered why the Malawi Electoral Commission was going ahead with the elections when government had banned gatherings of more than 100 people wondering how the political parties would conduct campaign.

In her remarks, MEC chairperson said the proposal for postponement was for all stakeholders to reflect on and make their positions known even through the media.

She had earlier on suggested that members break into groups and come up with a resolution on whether to postpone the elections or not.

However, members felt they needed more time to consult their principals and constituents.

The stakeholders said they need to consult health experts.

“We are not health experts. We can’t tell if this virus has an implication worth suspension of the election or not. We will give our position after we make consultation,” said Kandi Padambo, the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) chairperson.

In his contribution, Senior Chief Lukwa of Kasungu advised the Commission to have a contingency electoral calendar apart from the current which might be followed in case of the Coronavirus hits the country.

In her speech at the NECOF meeting, Ansah said the Commission was taking measures to ensure that all electoral staff and people who come for registration are protected from catching the virus.

“The Coronavirus has affected a lot of activities, and elections are not an exemption. The MEC will undertake to ensure the safety of its staff, both at headquarters and in the field, during the implementation of the electoral process.

“There will be masks, gloves, water and hand sanitisers for use in all places. And there will be strict observance of distances between individuals as well as gatherings of less than 100 people during meeting,” she said.

The MEC chairperson urged all electoral stakeholders, including political parties, to join hands with the Commission in observing and applying the same measures in all their undertakings as directed by the State President.

If the fresh presidential elections will be postponed, it will be a second time in recent history that polls have been postponed after launch.

MEC recently postponed by-elections in Lilongwe South Constituency few days to polling because of violence.

In 2010 the Commission also postponed Local Government Elections after government expressed that it had no funding as the country was facing hunger and the money had to be used to buy relief maize.

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Alex mgeni
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Alex mgeni

A jane ansah muzimva. Muli ndi ana akulu akulu. Osamapanga zopusa. Mwakula kale, osatipasa matsoka. Tisiyileni dziko lathu. Inu mwakula basi. Tikumvana?

Ruben kacheche
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Ruben kacheche

The first Corona is Jane…so shifting is because we don’t want her

CADET NO. 1
Guest

These are Tactics planned by APM and his girl friend Jane Ansah in an attempt to cling to power. Corona Virus is just a Shrub they are trying to hide in until their mission is accomplished.
Chouluka chilichonse chimatera pansi. Ulukani mmene mungaulukiremo , u will one day reach the end of the road.

Political Observer
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Political Observer

The Malawi Constitution is very clear that a state president must be elected by the 50 + 1 majority.Fresh presidential elections must proceed with or without Coronavirus so that this Lomwe elected president Peter Muthalika with only 35% of votes must go instead a president to be elected by the majority(65%) must come in.

Zio ine
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Zio ine

I have not seen anywhere where 50+1 is written.

Phiri
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Phiri

No elections because so far the opposition has failed to change the constitution. ConCourt ruling was wrong and unconstitutional and consequently under panic, Gotani has run to the corrupt courts just because she can’t pass illegal and unconstitutional bills in parliament.

In Darkness Democracy Dies DDD
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In Darkness Democracy Dies DDD

Malawians should not permit this unelected President whose election was nullified by the Supreme Court. It is time for a government of national unity to oversee the fight against Covid-19 and then to organise a rigging free and fair election.
Mutharika has a criminal indictment waiting for trying to conceal the death of Bingu and attempting to subvert the Constitution by doing so. Let him beware and behave fairly otherwise he shall leave State House in handcuffs and leg irons.

Phiri
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Phiri

The constitution does not provide for that. Mutharika is the president. The opposition has failed to change the constitution so accept that Concourt judgement was WRONG and unconstitutional.

Nsanje
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Nsanje

This whole issue has come down to one crucial thing: the constitution. For us to have fresh presidential elections there is need to change the constitution and that requires two-thirds majority which the opposition does not have. Now, either our judges were naïve, corrupt, incompetent OR all of these, for them to have thought they could annul last years presidential poll results and then force parliament to change the constitution to suit their ruling. The constitution is designed NOT to allow changes driven by short-term interests. It’s a lesson to our judges and people who are ignorant about the constitution.

U-turn
Guest

Concourt and Opposition are in trouble due to this dangerous corona virus. The Concourt gave Malawian a foolish judgement, Concourt can not order the Congress to pass the bill,but it only can recommand the bill, not order, otherwise the court interfere in Congress’ matter. It also causes the court dealing the case politically.The Constitution does not grant the court such mandate to order Congress to deal the bill. It is aslo indentified the court as the violation of the Constitution.

Nalingula
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Nalingula

mBwiyanga ndie mutozikolatu if Something is Annulled it is Annulled.Whether the Constitution is amended or not amended it is Annulled .As for Chimfine Cha Covid( this one is a supposedly an alliance of virus found in Bats and pangolins) – It might be here for Ever – Chimfine sichitha chimangosintha – It’s a Virus ….Now if it Comes in another form Next Year ( it forms another alliance)….Basi tizingoti Postpone …Postpone mpaka kalekale ….Short term interests is when Someone thinks Tribalism will keep them in Power for Ever …as a President of a Whole Country ….

Banda
Guest
Banda

There is a good reason why presidential elections are not annulled anyhow especially in countries where the constitution does not provide a framework for another election. First, Concourt used flimsy reasons to annul the presidential poll and to show that the courts did not have valid reason that there were irregularities, they have refused to annul parliamentary and local poll results. This alone presents constitutional problems because how do you align the next presidential and parliamentary as well as local polls? Second, people can say, annulment is an annulment – but what mechanism does ConCourt or Supreme Court have for… Read more »

Martin
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Martin

Even yourself @ Banda you’re trying to explain to others things you don’t understand; 1- concourt refused annull the parliamentary results as a whole not that they were legit, everybody knows all figures were cooked up by Ansah, the problem is that nobody went to courts and lodge a complain within 8 days as stipulated in the very useless constitution you and muntharika are hiding behind. 2- If you think the constitution is that perfect why do many countries amend it every now and then? 3- Do you honestly think the way malawian MPs are money hungry, can they choose… Read more »

Nkhutche
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Nkhutche

I am not sure that a president elected through alliances is a president of majority in reality. If you disband the alliance people will vote for their party president and none of the current candidates is assured of 50+1 alone. Our argument should just be ‘we want a change in the presidency’ come what may.That would be honesty.

KKKK
Guest
KKKK

Then why are giving pressure to have the bill passed, if the judgement was in accordance to laws of Malawi? The ruthless truth-telling fact is that GOD, the Wholly One of Israel is fighting for the battles of our dear Peter, the State President of Republic of Malawi. Mulimbana naye mpaka 2023 osaphula kanthu. Saliyekha Peter. zikomo.

Martin
Guest
Martin

@ Nsanje, you and many malawians in your league only know how to make noise but don’t know what that noise is all about. To have fresh elections don’t need a change of the constitution, the elections will go ahead but will be based on old laws if the new bills can not pass as laws. Once the elections are annulled are annulled unless the higher court judges otherwise. The only issue that dpp and Muntharika can block are the bills that were supposed to be passed as laws to go along with the fresh elections such as 50+1 majority… Read more »

Jamax
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Jamax

Please postpone thiese elections because God does not want us to go for elections again no!!!! that’s why Corona virus has come – in-fact we should first turn to God and repent all the SINS we have done during the EVIL demos. most people have been wounded, property stolen and demolished, lives lost and God is very furious. Secondly, with this Covid 19 sweeping across the world it means something somewhere things are NOT ok – there is someone who is causing this calamity – Remember in the bible when Jonah was sent to preach the word of God in… Read more »

Gerrsom Mwale
Guest

DPP thugs do not need a fresh election. That is why Peter declared the State Disaster. Their aim is postponing the election, even overthrows the Concourt Judgement. After some weeks, we will see the State Emergency declared by Peter. Meanwhile, the constitution will be suspended, nobody can touch Peter because the constitution gives Peter such power. That is why Trump can use the money without Congress’ approval in USA bcz he declared that State Emergency due to the border crisis alone the Mexico and USA.

MOMBE
Guest
MOMBE

Let’s be honest, the election is not going to happen because ConCourt ruling was flawed – it ignored crucial constitutional provisions and as such parliamentary bills have run into deep trouble – that is why Speaker Gotani is running to the courts again because she knows there is no two-thirds majority to change the constitution. The corona-virus, therefore presents the Supreme Court with an opportunity to just CANCEL ConCourt ruling and the elections. The court’s reputation is at stake just because ConCourt ruling depended on the passing of bills, a process no court can control because it requires debating and… Read more »

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