Members of Parliament (MP) on Tuesday took to task the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) which is facing credibility issues at the back of attacks by some civil society activists calling for the replacement of the pollster’s chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah.
The Commission’s decision to postpone by-elections slated for June 6, 2017 because of lack of resources, has been condemned as an affront to the flourishing of democracy in this country.
The Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Public Service Reforms in Lilongwe on Tuesday also expressed concerns the suspension of the by-elections, saying the move disenfranchises people in the constituencies and wards.
Committee chairperson Harry Mkandawire asked Justice Ansah and her commission to have proper strategy of the elections to regain the public trust.
“The whole country is looking at your institution for a proper management of elections and not for you to defend reforms.
“We are looking at your institution to save lives and democracy will be at stake if people start doubting you,” said Mkandawire.
Ansah said the elections have not been suspended but “postponed because we have no money.”
During a news conference held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, the civil society activist called for the replacement of MEC chairperson, Ansah SC for what they said “partisan interests … primarily her position in condemning the proposal for elections to be won by a simple majority of 50+1”.
The activists included the controversial Billy Mayaya, infamous Gift Trapence, outspoken Dorothy Ngoma, indecisive Robert Mkwezalamba, Reverend know-it-all Macdonald Sembereka, little known Leon Matanda and escort Desmond Mhango.
However, in a statement released on Monday, April 24, 2017, MEC accused the activists of misrepresenting and deliberate tendency of ignoring facts on the ground.
The electoral body said the activists were engaging in utterances that distort the truth and hell-bent towards misinforming the public for whatever reason it is yet to establish.
“It would have been appreciated if they had taken time to crosscheck with the Ministry if the reasons advanced by MEC were indeed the truth” read in part the statement signed by Acting Chief Elections Officer, Thandie Nkovole.
MEC expressed concern with the deliberate distortion of truth that its chairperson was against the change of electoral system to 50+1 vote aka Absolute Majority System.
“In the interview that she (Justice Ansah) granted to the media, she urged for speedy implementation of the reforms which are currently under consideration of the Special Law Commission.
“The 50+1 being referred to is for presidential elections only and not parliamentary elections as alluded to in the statement by the civil society activists,” read the statement.
In the statement MEC also reminded all electoral stakeholders that the date for conducting Tripartite Elections is fixed in the Constitution and the body had a responsibility to ensure that everything was done on time.
“Being cautious of this, the Chairperson was calling on the offices involved in the electoral reforms process that they should do everything on time so that there is ample time for effective implementation ahead of 2019 elections.
“The Commission manages elections according to the existing laws and should the guiding legislation change, MEC will have to abide by that,” the statement said.
MEC concluded by appealing to stakeholders to help in building an informed citizenry and avoid confusions created by misinformation by seeking clarifications on matters they do not understand.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :