LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-One of the country’s right body Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 penned the Registrar of the High Court, Agnes Patemba, on the President Peter Mutharika’s non compliance to assent the newly passed electoral bills.
According to a letter that has been signed by CDEDI’s Acting Executive Director, Silvester Namiwa, the organisation is seriously concerned about Mutharika’s lack of seriousness about assenting to the said bills and firing the Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) Chairperson, Dr Jane Ansah, and all the commissioners saying, this is a contempt of court.
“As we are writing this letter, Mutharika has sent back the bills to Parliament and has also refused to act on Public Appointments Committee’s (PAC) recommendations to fire the commissioners. This is in spite of the fact that Malawians followed for themselves the proceedings on radio and television and agreed that they are indeed incompetent to preside over free, fair and credible elections in Malawi.
“It is CDEDI’s considered view that by sending back the bills to Parliament and by not firing the commissioners, Mutharika has failed to comply with the Constitutional Court order. We therefore, seek to request the court to hold him in contempt of court,” reads the letter partly.
The letter further puts it that the tendency by the Head of State not to assent to the bills has the potential to throw the country into anarchy, a situation which is very dangerous for a growing democracy like Malawi.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, President Arthur Peter Mutharika, through a press briefing addressed by his press officer, Mgeme Kalilani, said he would not assent to the electoral bills, and he would also not fire the MEC Chairperson and commissioners because the reasons for doing so (as put forward by PAC) were very flimsy and unsound.
On 3rd February this year, the High Court, sitting as a Constitutional Court, nullified the May 2019 presidential polls and ordered for a fresh version of the same in 150 days.