Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of Karonga Diocese has cast doubt over the current Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) credibility to hold free, fair and credible fresh Presidential elections slated for July 2 if the current tensed up political situation is not contained.
The influential social justice and peace Catholic institution made the observations through a statement released on Tuesday and signed by the Diocese’s Desk Officer Louis Nkhata after noting a continued waves of attacks of party monitors and recent arson torching of cars and offices of other political parties.
The statement says since results of the 2019 polls were announced, the countrys political environment has not been stable, saying violent demonstrations, court cases coupled with social disturbances such as bloodsucking myths and rumours that have left some people dead and the resurfacing of the attacks on persons with albinism ahead of the elections are concerns yet to be addressed.
“The current political situation in Malawi is not healthy to hold free, fair, peaceful and credible elections. There is need for electoral stakeholders at national and local level to engage each other under the direction of MEC and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs such as CCJP to maintain peace, political tolerance and social cohesion, said Nkhata in the statement.
The statement further blames the alleged existence of the untrusted commissioners at MEC as the main bone of contention, saying elections are emotive undertakings that require stakeholders to have trust in the Election Management Body and ultimately the countrys leadership holds the key to unlock this political puzzle.
Added the statement: The urgent remedy to the defects and deficiencies rocking the ongoing voter registration process is critical to ensuring a credible fresh election. Real time responding to the observed challenges by MEC and National Registration Bureau (NRB) in districts where there are verified reports of minors registering to vote.
In an interview, a Zomba based political analyst Mustapha Hussein concurred with CCJP saying, if the evidence tendered in the Constitutional Court is anything to go by, then there is no need to entrust the same Commission to conduct fresh Presidential elections having failed to legally manage the 2019 polls.
“For MEC to win back the lost trust, Commissioners could have paved way for others to come in and run the affairs. And again, rumours of minors registering in the voters register and the absence of security agents in registration centres in phase two seems like a plot to rig elections which again raises eyebrows and obviously, it will be hard for candidates to accept results, Hussein said.
However, MEC Chairperson Justice Dr. Jane Ansah has maintained that the Commission has the capacity to professionally manage the fresh Presidential elections in a free, fair and credible manner and has since assured candidates and political party leaders that MEC will screen the voters register if minors by revisiting all problematic areas that have been flagged to have registered minors.
“We shall invite all new registrants to registration centres that have been flagged to have registered minors to verify their eligibility in terms of age and will strike everyone off should they not satisfy the age limit,” Ansah told journalists on Tuesday.
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