Speaker turns to court on Mutharika’s snub of Malawi electoral reforms bill

Speaker of the National Assembly, Catherine Gotani Hara, has referred the responses from President Peter Mutharika not to assent to  Electoral Reforms Bills  and fire  Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioners, to the Constitutional Court for further guidance on the matter.

Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara:  Seeks court direction over  Mutharika’s refusal to ratify bills to pave the way to new polls after his re-election last May was annulled over irregularities.

Mutharika has refused to promulgate laws to hold the new ballot and to fire MEC chairperson Jane Ansah and her commissioners which was requested by the constitutional court in its historic judgment.

The Constitutional Court on February 3 2020 directed Parliament to debate Electoral Reforms Bills following the nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election results in preparation of a fresh election within 150 days of the ruling.

In a statement seen by Nyasa Times, Gotani Hara said  following a memoranda from the President explaining why he withheld his assent to the bills and refusal to  fire MEC Commissioners, parliament will report to the registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court.

“The memoranda for the President explaining the reasons for withholding assent and also why the president has not approved the removal of the MEC Commissioners as recommended by PAC, were received by my office on 20 March 2020.

“The National Assembly is proceeding to communicate the decisions to the ConCourt through the office of the Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court. Members of the public are hereby assured that the National Assembly will continue to abide by any court rulings as one way of ensuring that there is respect for separation of powers and rule of law,” reads part of the statement.

Mutharika is attempting to quash the process. He has filed an appeal against the court’s annulment of the results and refused to fire members of  the electoral body, as recommended by parliament.

On Tuesday last week, Mutharika delegated his press secretary Mgeme Kalilani to deliver two major messages: that he had withheld assent to election-related bills Parliament sent for his nod last month; and that he would not fire MEC commissioners who the Constitutional Court, presiding over the presidential election dispute, found to be incompetent and ordered Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) to further assess their fitness. The committee recommended that they be fired.

Among others, Mutharika argued that he was convinced that a fresh presidential poll enabled by the four proposed pieces of legislation would be illegal largely because the Bills were in conflict with the Constitution of Malawi, which he swore to protect.

The Bills were presented in the House by Lilongwe City South West MP Nancy Tembo and Nkhata Bay West legislator Chrispin Mphande as Private Members Bill (PMB) Number 5 of 2020 and PMB Number 4 of 2020, respectively.

On Monday, MEC announced that the fresh poll, whose budget has been pegged at K34 billion, will be conducted on July 2 2020.

Meanwhile, Chancellor College law professor Garton Kamchedzera said the fresh election is not dependent on the coming into law of the Bills and that  requirement for at least 50 percent + 1 of the votes is also not affected.

Another Chancellor College legal expert Edge Kanyongolo said the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal will be the only hope “address appropriate orders”  for the preparations of the fresh presidential election following the rejection of the Bills by the President.

Malawi’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on Mutharika’s appeal in April.

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Nasingwe
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Nasingwe

kodi BINGU paja ananena kuti malamulo amakoza ndi ku parliament so this Zombie pitala eish ogah uyu. gotani mmakawerenga kunyumba za ncito yanuyi olo yu go home and celebrate the position you are on ,pleeeeasee

Kalulu
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Kalulu

I totally agree the speaker is clueless and very partisan.How can parliament stoop so low to be subservient to appointed judges.

Mtete
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Mtete

It’s always impossible for two parties to come to an agreement whenever there is a conflict. It is for this reason that we have arbitration to make a final ruling.

APM does not agree with what parliament considered the right thing. The solution in this case is for someone, the Court to arbitrate.

Gotani Hara is justified to seek redress.

CRIMINAL MINDED
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CRIMINAL MINDED

Ha ha ha ha uku nkulira Kwa adzanthu anafedwa ma cadets kkkk musolvenge

Phiri
Guest
Phiri

Another useless speaker who doesn’t understand the basic tenets of the president’s powers and her own job as far as Bill’s are concerned.

Phiri
Guest
Phiri

You people are stretching yourself – from Speaker, Chilima, Chakwera and HRDC. Please, read the constitution.

Hara
Guest
Hara

Did Concourt say the president should JUST assent to Bill’s? No. It didn’t because the constitution has a provision which says a president can assent or not assent to Bill’s. So, why is the biased Speaker Gotani going to court for?

Vilhomwe Ndivimbuli
Guest

For once in a history of Malawi we have rubbish in State house

Dudu
Guest
Dudu

In our history we have a rubbish Speaker who apparently doesn’t know that a president can assent or not assent to Bill’s.

The Patriot
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The Patriot

I fear Garton Kamchedzera is compromised as an analyst. No objectivity from him anymore. Please let Edge Kanyongoro or other neutral folks provide us better analytics vis a vis the Law. Our reporters please be of help, avoid such analysts.

I used to attend some lecturers by these folks, especially in the political science department you could see clearly the hatred towards the incumbent. And then later that lecturer is asked to provide his views as an analyst, ooooh munthu ali kale ndi mbali anenanso chani chabwino

Steven
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Steven

In communication or psychology, “People usually CHOOSE WHAT TO HEAR”.

In any conversation, people will always choose what message they like and discard what speaks negative to their liking. No wonder, the Patriotic is choosing what he like about Kanyongolo comments and rejects Kamchedzera comments. That’s how human beings behave, it’s not a surprise.

You are free to express your opinions.

Pupa
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Pupa

People also choose what to speak. But there is also a difference between facts and opinion. The fact which is being hidden by Kamchedzera is that the constitution gives the president powers to assent or NOT to assent to Bill’s which means there is nothing wrong with what president Mutharika did.

Tan
Guest
Tan

Steven in biblical terms ” out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks “. You can not speak it lest it be in you.

Independent Diplomat
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Independent Diplomat

Awatu zao ndi zoloweza basi. Kuganiza zero !!!

Girl lady
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Girl lady

Bravo Cathreen!!!! Go Girl

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