Attorney General Dr. Chikosa Silungwe gave a legal opinion to Office of President and Cabinet to formally write appointment letters for two Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga.
Kunje and Mathanga were part of the MEC Commissioners who administered the May 21 2019 Presidential Election that was nullified by five judges of the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court in Lilongwe.
The two commissioners were reappointed by the former president Peter Mutharika as commissioners of MEC after the expiry of their initial term. They were reappointed against the findings and recommendations of the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament to dismiss them before the expiry of their initial terms.
Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi sought legal advice from the AG on legality of the reappointment and whether government was bound to comply with their reappointment and whether there was any other legal remedy in dealing with the matter.
In his legal opinion, Silungwe advised OPC to respect the reappointment of the two commissioners and that formal letters for their reappointment should be written i.
“I submitted an opinion regarding Commissioner Kunje and Commissioner Mathanga to the Office of the President and Cabinet under the cover of my letter of 20 August, 2020.
“I have enclosed the opinion. In sum, I opined that when all the facts are considered, Government must opt to be bound by the appointment of the reconstituted Electoral Commission. I am fortified that this is neater and mature political pragmatism,” reads the opinion addressed to MEC Chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale and copied to the Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
The letter is dated September 28, 2020 and has reference number MJCA/AG/081.
The letter adds: “I urge the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, who is in copy, to formally write Commissioner Kunje and Commissioner Mathanga on their appointment.”
Silungwe tells OPC that the them President Mutharika was entitled to disregard the recommendations of PAC and let the Commissioners until the expiry of their term of office in June 2020.
He adds: “While the remedy of judicial review remains available, it must not be used.”
But government has disregarded a legal opinion by Attorney General clearyly defying the Hi-5 political mantra of President Lazarus Chakwera to respect the rule of law.
Kunje and Mathanga were recommended by the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :