Electoral stakeholders are backing calls for court sanctioned fresh presidential elections be held towards the year end to ensure there is thorough preparation and smooth electoral process.
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) judgement last week nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election and ordered fresh election within 150 days of the ruling on February 3 2020.
But the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which is appealing the order for fresh elections has said it is ready to hold fresh elections if time is extended.
In a sworn statement for the stay of the ConCourt ruling, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah argues that it is not feasible to hold fresh elections in 150 days’ time and proposes that the exercise be carried out on October 28 this year.
Among others, the electoral body cites funding constraints and transport challenges that the body experienced during the May 21 2019 elections, saying they are likely to haunt the commission again.
MEC put the budget for the fresh elections at K43 billion.
The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia has since demanded that the new commission be put in place to handle the fresh presidential election.
In a statement made available to Nyasa Times signed by the synod moderator the Reverend Douglas Chipofya and general secretary the Reverend Levi Nyondo, the synod is demanding that for a country to move forward, the fresh elections should be handled by people who are capable of conducting the election in a fair and unbiased manner.
“For the prosperity of our electoral system and if there is to be any confidence in future elections, it is time for new commissioners who are capable of the task at hand and whom our country can trust,” reads the statement.
The Synod has also demanded that those responsible for mismanaging the votes should be held accountable.
“Assuming the judgement of the Constitutional Court stands, then we expect to see the perpetrators held to account by the authority of laws of Malawi,” the church has said.
It adds: “The ruling says corruption will not be tolerated but we must go further and show that those responsible will not enjoy impunity for their actions.”
Governance expert Makhumbo Munthali said there is need for serious policy reforms at MEC especially in the appointment of commissioners, as advised by the Constitutional Court.
On his part, University of Livingstonia-based political analyst George Phiri said the protests against MEC last year were proof that Malawians have lost trust in the electoral body.
And in new Afrobarometer survey, it shows that most Malawians do not trust the MEC and believe the quality of elections has declined following events surrounding the nullified May 21 2019 presidential poll.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :