Mist over June 23 polling date as Malawi opposition reject constitutional amendment on electoral reform

Parliament’s rejection of an electoral reform bill – Constitutional Amendment – that would have facilitated the June 23 2020 voting and modalities for holding of a fresh presidential election will essentially make it not legally possible to hold the polls on the said date, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka has said.

Opposition Members of Parliament in Chamber were against the Bill tabled by government
Msaka:  We need to press to amend the Constitution and ensure electoral reforms legislation to enable fresh elections otherwise we will be stuck

Msaka on Wednesday tabled government bill number 11, 2020, Constitutional amendment of Section 80 of the Constitution to facilitate fresh election date on June 23 as per the court order.

But opposition vehemently rejected the Bill saying the House passed a motion to endorse June 23 as polling date through a private member’s motion on Tuesday.

Lilongwe City West MP George Zulu, standing on a Point of Order, said it was not right for the minister to bring the bills when the date was already decided.

However, the bill was rejected because the Bill failed to garner the required two thirds majority vote to pass any Constitutional Amendment.

For the 173 members which were present and voted; 88 members said yes to a motion to waive the 28-day notice to have the Minister of Justice to table the Constitutional Amendment bill (section 80), 81 said no while 20 were absent.

Immediately after the bill was rejected MPs from the government side started chanting that “the opposition has said NO to fresh elections.”

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Msaka said the bill wanted to amend Section 80 (1) on the Constitution to provide for fresh presidential elections.

As it reads now the said section stipulates that Presidential Election must be held alongside Parliamentary elections.

“The only authority that can permit presidential elections to be held at any other time is the Constitution itself,” said Msaka.

“No other authority can provide for elections to be held at a different time from Parliamentary elections,” he added.

Justice Minister said the Constitution needed to be amended to provide for the fresh elections- a situation that was never foreseen from annulled elections.

He said where the opposition want June 23, government Bill provided the same date June 23 in the amendment.

“It is puzzling that they did not support the Bill,” said Msaka.

He added: “The opposition is hell-bent on continuing with the situation of uncertainty.”

Msaka said an election of the President must be; Constitutional, credible, free and fair.

“If any of these is absent we will soon find ourselves in the same position where we are now. Challenged election,” he explained.

Technically, this means that there is no date in the Constitution for the fresh presidential election (and a run-off in case no candidate secures 50+1 majority of the votes) as per the February 3 2020 order of the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election over irregularities and upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The court asked Parliament to make appropriate provisions in the law to facilitate the holding of a fresh election and provision for a run-off in the event that no candidate secures the 50-plus-one majority.

The rejected Bill also propose that MPs decide between simple majority (first past the post) and the 50-percent-plus-one majority in determining the winner, a proposal which sharply contradicts the recent interpretation of majority by the Constitutional Court and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.

The court ordered a fresh election within 150 days which expires on July 3.

While winding up debate on the rejected bill, Msaka mocked the opposition saying they only win elections in court and not on the ballot.

Meanwhile, fresh election faces several legal and logistical challenges, including enabling laws and printing of ballot papers which is yet to be sanctioned.

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Omex70
Omex70
8 months ago

Msaka and your friends in DPP camp, do you have any iota of shame when telling lies? Who doesn’t know that your plans was to disregard the judgement of courts by removing the 51+1 issue? Koma ndiye mwagwa nawotu. I have been saying it and I will say it again here that God is not on your side. The writing is on the wall. It is only those who are pretending to be myopic who can not see the writing on the wall. I know that you would want God to be on your side, but unfortunately he is not… Read more »

Jose
Jose
8 months ago

Akulu imeneyo ndi normal elections.osati byelection or fresh election.Ndikufunse kodi constitution ingathe bwanji kuika date ya byelection ya mp.ukutathauza kuti ma seat a ma mp 5 atakhala vacant pachaka mupanga mabill 5 osinthila madeti.Kuchepa Nzeru ndi kusaganiza mchifukwa dzuko silimatukuka ndi maganizidwe amene mulihawo.Tikuphuzitsani kuyamga kuganiza

Jose
Jose
8 months ago

Nkhani ndi yakuti this election is order by court.By election or fresh elections are already in presidential and parliamentary laws where parliament sets date.note president is also member of parliament.So we do not need a bill to let elections occur such as rerun or byelection or fresh election.Read the judgement is clear.The normal polling date still remains 21 may each year after five years.The supreme court ruled you do not extend term of an MP after vacancy of MP seat the same after the office of president is vacant .But the one elected to fill the vacancy finishes the reamaing… Read more »

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
8 months ago

Kikikikiiiiiiii, yanyamuka kale bambo. Kaagonani pompo pa depot, bye bye.

innocent gama
innocent gama
8 months ago

Mtolankhani wopusa iwe

Wachiyao
8 months ago

We are voting on 23 June, everything else does not matter.

Fake Petros
Fake Petros
8 months ago
Reply to  Wachiyao

Kodi mbava zikuopa chani? Ngakhale boxing pamakhala rematch, osaopa ngati munawina zenizeni, kuopa nyekhwe?

Chiga
Chiga
8 months ago

This is very simple whoever will feel aggrieved about the FPE results will have the same rights to approach the same judiciary that has no doubt become more experienced in these matters now. Should it be DPPs turn to be the next petitioners I fear for them because according to Peter professor of Mutharika, Parliament is above the Judiciary that has been bashed left and right by the professor of Mutharika! To make things worse after 3rd July his mandate as provisionalunelectedpresident expires! Eish total confusion in the professors camp.

NACHITHIDZI PALIBE
NACHITHIDZI PALIBE
8 months ago

MR Msaka yu dnt need to discuss that bill in parliament y do yo want to infringe public interest rights? what you are doing is something evil to our nation let us vote this mentioned date to see way forward y do you want to change the date bcoz of the bill and you know mr president does not want fresh election y do misleading the constitution one day you’ll pay with this am telling you

Wakwithu
Wakwithu
8 months ago

There is no Mist at all!

Nkhani nja straight iyi it’s 23June

Mumuwauze adadi ayambe campaign 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Mbonga Matoga
Mbonga Matoga
8 months ago

The constitution does not specify which exact day of the month an election can be held, the date has always been set be the electoral commission. The constitution only talks about time limits etc.

The upcoming election was unique because it was sanctioned by the courts so parliament had to set the date which we all now know is 23 June whether the electoral bills have passed or not, whether the government likes it or not the elections are happening on the 23, this date has been gazetted.

Bob Finye
Bob Finye
8 months ago
Reply to  Mbonga Matoga

You are lying. The constitution specifies the day. It’s 3rf Tuesday of May every five years. Read it

Mbonga Matoga
Mbonga Matoga
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob Finye

If you had understood my comment you would have known that this is a unique election and we can not wait for May mbava.

It’s June 23 whether you like it or not,

And for those people like you who like to be used by the evil politicians to instigate violence during elections, please don’t dare this time …you have been warned

Chiga
Chiga
8 months ago
Reply to  Mbonga Matoga

So their diabolical plan was to shoot down the courts orders in line with what their fake professor of law had convinced them that parliament is another highest court of appeal above the supreme court of appeal. Then this fake president would go ahead and refuse to assent to the bills, then there would be no elections so the looting of the treasury would continue unabated. This evil plot has failed miserably!

Mazira
Mazira
8 months ago
Reply to  Chiga

basically the bill by Msaka was a response to what APM asked parliament to do, reverse the court order. Fortunately, just like all Malawians today, parliamentarians also woke up

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