Chairperson for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Justice Chifundo Kachale, says a robust and versatile legal framework is foundational to the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections.
Kachale made the remraks during a news conference he held to provide an update on the preparation for the November 10, 2020, by-elections.
He said while legal disputes are inevitable in a democratic system founded upon the rule of law, the institutional credibility of the body responsible for arranging such elections could suffer some harm where its decisions and actions are subject to ceaseless litigation arising from some gaps or ambiguities in critical areas of the relevant law.
“The Commission believes that such a scenario would better serve the interests of all stakeholders and ensure that these legal ambiguities are properly adjudicated upon in order to continue to consolidate our nascent democracy.
“Our strong expectation as MEC remains that all these legal issues which have been highlighted through recent judicial pronouncements will be addressed and resolved through a comprehensive and inclusive legal reform project which can more fully respond to the multiplicity of issues which have thus far been pointed out,” said Kachale.
He emphasized that the Commission has reached the position within the context of seeking to remain fully compliant to all judicial orders and directions.
“We would further like to acknowledge that as the recent court decisions on electoral matters have demonstrated, even with our best endeavours and unflinching commitment to discharge our functions in a manner that remains faithful to our oath of office, it is possible to make honest errors of judgment.
“In this instance, we have deemed it appropriate to preempt the question by disclosing our understanding on the matter early enough in order to afford anyone dissatisfied with such an understanding, an adequate opportunity to seek further judicial guidance ahead of the upcoming polls,” he said.
MEC will conduct parliamentary by-elections on November 10 in Karonga Central and Lilongwe while by-elections have been deferred in Mangochi West, Mangochi North East and Phalombe North constituencies.