Malewezi urges MEC to be tough on abuse of public resources in campaign

Former Malawi vice president Justin Malewezi has strongly appealed to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials to swiftly put up mechanisms that would prevent politicians from using public resources during 2014 campaign period ,saying this will be the only way that would guarantee free and fair election.    

Speaking during the Tiuzeni Zoona program hosted by Daniel Mawawa on privately owned Zodiak Broadcasting Service on Sunday, Malewezi said it is unfortunate that despite section 193 of the Malawi Constitution with bars the use of government resources in political campaign rallies some politician continue to take advantage of their positions and do campaign using public resources.

“It is unfortunate that MEC has failed big time to effect the provision because it seem they are afraid of the government which is the big problem,” said the former vice president.

“ I remember last year opposition parties presented the complaints to MEC against the use of public resources but   MEC referred the complaint to the Office of President and Cabinet which is an interested party in the issue”, said Malewezi.

Malewe\i: The party in power may enjoy the advantages of incumbency but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair
Malewe\i: The party in power may enjoy the advantages of incumbency but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair

He said it is necessary that this should be avoided during the forthcoming elections for fair elections.

“MEC should make sure that people have the president who can win because people want him or her not because he or she has used public resources during campaign,” he said.

Malawezi noted that elections in which the ruling party has almost unlimited access to and use of state resources to the exclusion of the opposition cannot be said to be free and fair.

He suggested that there is need for a memorandum of understanding on the issue involved all the stakeholders.

“Unless there is a political will to refrain from using public resources during campaigns we will continue having complaints of unfair elections which is not good at all,” said Malewezi.

Malewezi was at pains to judge the performance of the incumbent President Joyce Banda since she took power last year saying it is unfair to expect her do a lot within the short period she has been in office.

“We should not expect to her to do a lot.  It’s unfair because her administration came because of death. She took over government unprepared and it’s difficult to compare her with those who had full terms. However she has changed a lot. But due to campaign which is approaching we are yet to see which way she should go,” he said.

Malewezi advised all the presidential candidates to hurry in choosing their running mate before the close of registration exercise so that they should start selling them to the public in time.

He also gave tips to the presidential candidates on how to choose the best running mate.

“They should ensure that there is compatibility between the presidential candidate and his running mate. That is, they should be like minded and pursuing similar agenda. They should also ensure that there is complementarity; they should not be from the same area. And finally they should look at political inclusiveness. They should know no age, tribe, or regional boundaries,” said Malewezi

On a personal note Malewezi said he has no intention of joining any political party but he is ready to provide advice to any political party on issues of national interest.

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