A commissioner at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said the pollster has not yet started preparations for the Constitutional Court sanctioned fresh presidential election preparations because the commissioners job hangs in the balance.
Moffat Banda told parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) incompetency hearing on Tuesday in Lilongwe that the job of the commissioners depends on the outcome of the hearing he was attending.
The Constitutional Court ordered the committee to look into the competency of the commission following the court’s findings that the May 21, 2019 poll was marred with irregularities and anomalies which had been so widespread, systematic and grave that the integrity of the results had been seriously compromised.
“If I say that we have started preparations for the election, then I would be lying to the committee. We are all waiting for the outcome of this hearing,” said Banda.
He, however, said if the committee finds that the commission was competent but the Supreme Court of Appeal upholds the Constitutional Court ruling, he would not resign on matters of principle.
“Mistakes are made and mistakes are corrected so I would not resign because I have done a lot for the nation,” he said.
He however said he would personally welcome any Appeals Court ruling.
The judges ordered new elections in 150 days from February 3 2020. They also highlighted fundamental challenges that have long plagued Malawi’s first-past-the-post electoral system.
In the current commission, appointed on June 6 2016, DPP has four representatives in Jean Mathanga, Moffat Banda, the Reverend Killion Mgawi and the Reverend Clifford Baloyi while United Democratic Front (UDF) has Yahaya M’madi and Elvey Mtafu. People’s Party (PP) is represented by Linda Kunje and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Nkosi.
The Electoral Commission Act empowers the President, subject to the Constitution and in consultation with the leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly, to appoint suitably qualified persons to be members of the commission on such terms and conditions as the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament shall determine.