Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), which is currently embroiled in management issues bordering on political disagreements with its stakeholders, has just been hit with the resignation of its Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika.
A statement from MEC chairperson, Justice Chifundo Kachale, SC did not indicate reasons of resignation of this high-ranking electoral officer — only indicated that they received Alfandika’s notice of resignation on Monday, April 26.
Justice Kachale said Alfandika has “already proceeded on his accrued annual leave pending the effective operation of the resignation [and] in the meantime, the Commission shall be meeting to discuss the relevant modalities for filling the vacancy arising from this development, bearing in mind the critical role of this office in the effective discharge of our business at all levels”.
Kachale also announced that MEC has been formally notified that Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje applied for and were granted an injunction against the decision to rescind their appointments as MEC Commissioners and as they await commencement of their judicial review proceedings the two are effectively back into operation.
“The effect of that court order is to suspend the decision to rescind the two Commissioners’ appointments until the conclusion of the Judicial Review Proceedings or a further order of the Court on this matter,” Kachale said.
“This, therefore, means that our composition reverts to what it was prior to the delivery of those letters on 12th April 2021. In view of this development the Commission may competently resume the regular discharge of its constitutional and statutory functions.
“Meanwhile, the Commission shall convene a formal meeting within the next week to deliberate upon the next appropriate steps in view of this development.
“Thereafter, the Commission will issue a Revised Calendar of Events outlining the implementation of its activities which were suspended by operation of the law.”
Soon after the rescission of the two Commissioners contracts, Kachale announced that upon consultation with the Attorney General, Chikosa Silungwe, the remaining MEC membership is no longer in compliance with section 75 (1) of the Constitution.
He had sought the legal opinion from Silungwe asking whether MEC’s reduced composition was adequate for purposes of discharging its functions or exercising its powers.
Kachale sought the legal opinion since MEC was in the process of direct engagements with political party leaders in the course of implementing the boundaries review and delimitation program under its constitutional mandate.
He announced that Silungwe advised that “the effect of the rescission of the appointment of the two Commissioners was that the membership of the Commission was no longer in compliance with section 75 (1) of the Constitution”.
“The Commission has been further advised that the remaining members of the Commission should not continue discharging any duties or powers of the Commission until section 75 (1) of the Constitution has been complied with.
“In view of this development and advice, the Commission has henceforth no legal authority or basis to continue implementing its activities which become suspended by operation of the law until further notice.
“The immediate practical implication is that the program of engagement with political party leaders and the entire boundary review and delimitation programme is likewise suspended, pending the resolution of the current legal quagmire surrounding the composition of the Electoral Commission by the relevant authorities,” Kachale had said.
On April 19, the High Court in Blantyre granted court injunction stopping President Lazarus Chakwera’s government from rescinding Mathanga and Kunje’s appointments and that “the application for Judicial Review be made to a Judge in open Court and that the hearing be heard promptly”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :