New MEC Commissioners: Malawi need active personnel not retired political, religious gurus

If there is one thing that the current electoral crisis has revealed, then it’s the increasing public interest in debating and questioning the role of commissioners in the entire electoral process.

Embattled MEC commissioners

Before the February 2 Constitution Court ruling, much of the debate surrounding elections management in the country was narrowed to questioning the effectiveness and efficiency of the chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

It appears we didn’t find it imperative to broaden our question regarding how other commissioners help shape the success or failure of our electoral process.

Well, here we are now.

After the ConCourt ruling, there has been increased public interest in questioning the role of the commissioners, specifically, narrowed to their role in the electoral mess that was May 20 2019 Tri-partite elections.

In much of the debates, it is increasingly becoming clear that though the buck stops at the chairperson of MEC; the other commissioners, too, play a critical role that shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

That is why, as the search for new commissioners is already underway, it is imperative that, as a country, we begin to debate our commissioners—both from the perspective of their appointments and, also, their terms of reference.

In terms of their appointment, what we know, of course, is that political parties nominate names before the president, and then he, alone, makes the final decision.

I don’t know how much discretionary powers the president has there; however, the spirit of the law there, by involving political parties, is that the recruitment process of commissioners must be consultative.

This process, to me, isn’t conclusive. I still find it important if, after the President’s nod, the Public Appointment Committee (PAC) should also be involved to screen and scrutinize.

For years, we have had electoral processes wrought with irregularities to the extent where a court declared recent ones invalid.

The question we must ask ourselves is: If one political party disagrees with the results of the elections, what was the role of the said party’s commissioner in endorsing such results?

Let me put it simple.

After the May 20 2019 Tri-partite elections, MCP went to court to challenge the results. But, truth be told, these are the same results that commissioners endorsed and MCP commissioners was one of them. So what are we talking about here?

These stories, to a greater extent, largely tell us something about the caliber of commissioners that, in their hands, we rest the big task of managing elections.

For years, the job of commissioners has always been left to retired politicians and, most interestingly, retired religious gurus.

I am yet to understand the reason, but these retirees haven’t done the nation any good if we look at the history of how elections have been managed in the country.

I argue that the process of electoral management is too complex and demanding to be left to retirees who, often, are too old, too tired and their main focus is to safeguard the material benefits of the job to help them survive and sail through demands of their age.

 

Its time political parties gave us active personnel, even youths, to take a leading role in electoral management in the country as commissioners. We need people that have the urge, have the knowledge, can question the processes and can stand up for the truth.

 

Not these old guys, always dosing, only to wake for two things: pending signatures on results they hardly know and pending signatures on cheques of their fat allowances and benefits.

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Chidakwa APM
Guest

We have a problem because we practice politics of poverty. We need leaders who have the interests of the people at heart. The political leaders should regard themselves as employees of the people. Unfortunately this is not the case with the current president and his alliance team that includes MEC and UDF.

mchisala
Guest
mchisala

Winning/Losing Statistics: For Tonse alliance to win the coming FPE they will need to limit their rival (the Mbava alliance) to a maximum of 20% of the Central vote and secure themselves a minimum of 70 and 80% of the Northern and Central votes, respectively (i.e limit the Mbava alliance to maximum of 30% of the Northern vote) while for their rival (the Mbava alliance) to win they will need to limit the Tonse alliance to a meager 17.5% of the Southern vote while securing themselves a minimum of 25 and 20% of the Northern and Central votes, respectively. This… Read more »

Harlod
Guest
Harlod

Point of order, there is no such thing as MCP Commissioners. Like any bona fide citizen, a commissioner is free to change political parties, or withdraw his/her affiliation – publicly or without announcing. Who is going to police the commissioners to ensure that they are still “party x” commissioners? Who is going to check the leanings of their hearts? This is why it is critical for all of us to hold the commissioners personally accountable and not excuse their incompetencies in the name of their parties. The fact that so-called “party x” commissioner has endorsed the election results doesn’t remove… Read more »

Kanunkhire uko
Guest
Kanunkhire uko

I beg to disagree with the writer partially because Jane Ansah was not a retired commissioner. I think it is the mindset of the appointed commissioner that betrays them. A better scrutiny is needed and interviews should apply.

Mtamba
Guest
Mtamba

I free with you that’s truth we need fresh personnel to manage this elections

chataika
Guest
chataika

Kapumeni bwino ma commissioners thank you for being brave enough amayesa kuti ndinu anthu but you showed to the nation and all ur enemies that yes u can boldly stand for ur truth. Wishing u good luck as you officially leave office on this 5th June 2020. Your God has been so faithful. Sorry inu a Mgawi for losing your property but know that God will deal with all those who looted and destroyed your property.

master
Guest
master

Another idiot writing nosense, dont even involve GOD on issues of demonic commissioners u are glorifying here, they deserve the hall of shame forever

mugulusi
Guest
mugulusi

Fiko, feacal!!! You just don’t get it. All the commissioners know that elections were fair. All observers said the same. It’s the regime change judges that faulted the results. One day and very soon we’ll know the full truth.

A FEW GOOD MEN
Guest
A FEW GOOD MEN

The Heading be like The List Of New Commissioners is out

utmcp
Guest
utmcp

Well written Mike. Keep it up

utmcp
Guest
utmcp

Well written Mike

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