MEC seeks court appeal against Chisi, Kabwila

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said it will appeal against a High Court ruling that forced it to reinstate two candidates – Professor John Chisi, torchbearer of Umodzi Party (UP) and Jessie Kabwila a parliamentary hopeful – who had earlier been barred from contesting for holding public offices.

MEC Deputy CEO (operations) Harris Potani told Nyasa Times Saturday that “the commission will appeal after the elections” meaning if they win, they will still be subject to legal challenge.

According to MEC, Chisi and Kabwila still had their teaching jobs at Malawi’s College of Medicine and Chancellor College.

Chisi (L) with MEC chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera during the nominations
Chisi (L) with MEC chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera during the nominations

Section 75 (2) of the Malawi constitution provides that “a person shall not be qualified to hold the office of a member of the Electoral Commission if that person is a Minister, Deputy, Minister, a Member of Parliament or a person holding public office.”

But Chisi and Kabwila had separately argued that their teaching jobs at the University of Malawi “are not public offices.”

Potani confessed that as a Commission they do not want to appeal against the two at the moment because “the appeal process takes a long time.”

He added: “But we will appeal nevertheless because we feel we were right and also so that we’ve proper direction in the future.”

Potani said in the situation that the two carry the day in the forthcoming elections and the courts rule in favour of the Commission the two will be “disqualified.”

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