The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has been caught in double standards after failing to disqualify a governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate for Ntchisi South, Violet Skeva, who has maintained her position in the civil service after participating in the May 21 parliamentary elections.
Skevas works as first secretary (economics) at the Malawi Embassy in Washington DC, USA a position she still holds up to now. She participated in the elections against the spirit of the law which requires one to resign from the civil service before taking part in political activities.
This amounts to hypocrisy. In May this year, the electoral body disqualified Dowa South East independent candidate Medson Nkhoma for holding a public office and yet presented nomination papers. Nkhoma works for the Road Traffic Directorate.
According to section 51 (2) (e) of the constitution no person shall be qualified to be nominated or elected as a member of parliament if that person holds, or acts, in any public office.
In October last year, government fired two senior officers from the civil service for merely associating with the UTM party. The two were George Saonda who served as Director of Administration in the Ministry of Information and Deputy Director for Administration in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Chiza Mbekeani.
Government chief secretary Lloyd Muhara sacked the two in a letter: “I write to inform you that pursuant to Article III of the local employment contract agreement that you signed with government, your services as deputy director of administration [Grade E/P4] are no longer required and have consequently been terminated.
“This follows your active involvement in politics contrary to Section 193 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi and circular letter Ref.No. CS/S/001 dated 28th June 2018 on public servants and the 2019 Tripartite Elections…”
The two were fired on mere suspicion when a good number of civil servants associated with the DPP remained in employment without reprisals. These include Lonnie Chijere Chirwa, Chimwemwe Chipungu, Yacintha Chikaonda, Zeria Chakale and many others.
“We know about Skeva issue but you cannot play with Ana a Dad. How she has been allowed to be in the civil service even after participating in politics is everyone’s guess. We are setting a bad precedence,” said one of the directors in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations.
Insiders said Skeva ‘services’ some powerful politicians in the DPP hence not been affected with the law.