Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has urged President Lazarus Chakwera to reject a recommendation by the parliamentary Public Affairs Committee (PAC) to fire two DPP Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners, Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje on the grounds that it was unjust.
“I am utterly dismayed and disappointed by the recommendation,” said Nankhumwa in a statement released on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, arguing that the PAC’s recommendation was unjust considering that the re-appointment of the two commissioners by former President Peter Mutharika has many legal implications that need careful consideration.
“Furthermore, the Attorney General Honourable Dr. Chikosa Silungwe, the government’s Chief Legal Advisor, recently gave a legal opinion to the effect that the best way to resolve this matter is to maintain the status quo or through a judicial review.
“The Attorney General suggested that when all facts of this matter are considered, the government must opt to be bound by the re-appointment of the Commissioners,” reads the statement.
He says that he holds the opinion that PAC has misled the President on this matter and that the PAC’s decision is morally, legally or politically unjustified.
“I am well aware that one of the constitutional functions of PAC is to discuss public opinions and formulating reasoned conclusions. However, I find PAC’s recommendation to the President and the process preceding it deeply flawed.
“I find the PAC recommendation as politically-motivated, malicious and only aimed at serving political interests of none other the President and those of the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP). It is a decision driven by hatred against the DPP and anyone perceived to be its member or sympathizer.
“Indeed, while PAC has the constitutional mandate to make recommendations to the President in respect to public appointments, the committee should have seriously resisted the temptation to interfere in an issue that may attract costly litigation on the part of the government. This possibility has been adequately addressed by the Attorney General in his legal opinions,” Nankhumwa argues.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament has asked President Chakwera to ignore the parliamentary PAC recommendation on the two MEC Commissioners and instead, adopt the legal opinion by the Attorney General.
“The President should be the first person to uphold the rule of law and constitutionalism in Malawi. Most importantly, the President must be the last person to fan the flames of hatred among Malawians, which have come to dominate the country’s political landscape since the last elections,” advises Nankhumwa, who also serves as opposition DPP Vice President for the southern region.