Good Governance Platform addressing the media

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-One of the country’s civil society organisation under the banner Good Governance Platform on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 questioned overboard mandate of the seating Constitution Court (ConCourt) on just concluded Malawi Presidential Election case.

The platform questions the court of its legality on overriding the duties of other arms of government including executive and legislature.

The grouping said the ConCourt does not exist in Malawi Constitution arguing that its mandate was just administrative by judicial commission.

The platform’s interim chairperson Unandi Banda observed that the act of ConCourt on the presidential elections has put Malawi at constitutional crisis and cane of worms need serious analysis if the nation is to move forward.

Banda said nullification of May 21, 2019 presidential elections was not constitutionally handled fairly arguing that the entire elections could be dealt with as its the same Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) that handled the same polls.

“First and foremost, the ConCourt does not exist in our statues only the High and Supreme courts have mandate to handle elections cases. Although the ConCourt is appointed by judicial commission, their work on the elections left a lot loop holes which needed to be worked.

“We had to take time with research to come up with this reasoning that We give the true reflection of our Malawi Constitution as I was part of the framers,” charged Banda.

Below is the full statement made available to The Maravi Post

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release Dated: 11th March, 2020

MALAWI AT CROSSROADS NAVIGATED by our private conscious, a national call to the service of our country, in and conservative VIGILANT of our civic duties and communal humanity COMPORTMENT IN COGNIZANCE of objectives set forth in the Constitution of the Republic Malawi ACQUAINTED of our duty to develop and utilize our social and temporal gifts to spear-heard peace building, Social Justice and democracy, preserve dignity, observation of the rule of Law and to strengthen the bonds of unity among Malawians DISTINGUISHING the need for organized leadership and stewardship for the proper conduct and practice of our affairs AFFIRMING our responsibility in each generation to make.

These two old Constitutions blended in a fashion that the spirit of both Constitutions should live in harmony in the Malawi Republican Constitution.

Those were the aspirations of the framers of the Malawi Constitution What are the spirits we are talking about? The separation of power among the three branches of Government is the corner stone of the American Constitution and these branches are independent of each other.

The supremacy of Parliament is the corner stone of the British Constitution. Our Parliament is comprised of the president and Members of the National Assembly.

This is the British spirit as it is comprised of the Prime Minister and Honorable Members. Let us remind the general public that the President of the Republic of Malawi is a Head of State and Government.

This has been the case when the First President of this country became the Prime Minister of Nyasaland at the time we were gaining self -rule.

Throughout the years, the Head of state gives the state of national address (SONA) in his capacity as the Head of State and Government. The Republican Constitution we have as said above, separates the powers among the three branches of government and also promotes the independence of these branches.

Parliament is an independent arm of Government but we are surprised that the Speaker repeatedly said that the House was bound by the Court Judgment. In our view, we feel very strongly that she compromised the National Assembly’s independence from the judiciary.

As Good Governance Platform we feel that Parliament should not rubber stamp issues originated by another branch of Government. For example, our national Assembly could have debated independently and considered the time frame that was dictated by the Court for holding Fresh Elections.

We are saying this in the view of the Court order which is part of the judgment that elections should be held with 150 days. To us, with the knowledge of fresh elections that were ordered in the judgment entails: Fresh registration of voters, Fresh inspection of voters role Civic and Voter Education , Agreement on the Electoral Commission and Commissioners by all contesting parties.

We believe very strongly that these processes outlined above, cannot be achieved within 150 days. Malawians should bear in mind that FRESH ELECTIONS are different from RERUN.

Fresh elections demand using fresh facilities while rerun would demand the use of same facilities. In conclusion, we are calling for a sober analysis of the High Court judgment by Malawians.

We should look at our Constitution critically

We should look at where we are coming from and the historical genesis of our Constitution

If people would want to change the spirit of the Constitution as it is a LIVING DOCUMENT, then they should follow the right procedures.

The judiciary alone cannot spearhead a big shift in the political arena without considering the independence of Parliament and that of the Executive.

At the centre of all this, is the general public of Malawi.

Political shifts are normally decided upon by the voters through referendum

SIGNED by Unandi Banda, Good Governance Platform’s Interim Chairperson

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