BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—As unofficial presidential election results indicate Malawi Congress Party (MCP) torchbearer Lazarus Chakwera leading, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners Linda Kunje and Jean Mathanga can breathe a sigh of relief as the party has resolved to withdraw an application for judicial review on their appointment.
Speaking during a press briefing at the national tally centre in Blantyre today evening, MEC chairperson Chifunod Kachale said the Commission has today received communication of withdrawal from the MCP leadership.
MCP wanted the court to review whether the President contravened the law in appointing more representatives of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to the commission and also in reappointing commissioners Mathanga and Kunje despite the two being declared incompetent by the High Court and Parliament.
Some quarters have already questioned the MCP’s gesture, saying they have arrived at that decision because they know they will now the powers to fire the embattled commissioners once Lazarus Chakwera is inaugurated as the winner of the fresh presidential election.
But in an interview with Maravi Post at the national tally centre in Blantyre, MCP publicity secretary Eisenhower Mkaka said the decision has been made in order to remove pressure on MEC chairperson Kachale.
“So far, the MEC chairperson has demonstrated independency and professionalism. He has worked under stress because the DPP has been holding financial resources for the smooth running of the election. So while we don’t agree the manner in which the commissioners were appointed, we say let us not give the MEC chairperson more stress,” said Mkaka.
“Look, the law is very clear on the appointment of commissioners that the qualifying parties should nominate up to three candidates. You can see DPP has four, which is already against the law. So our withdraw does not agree with the manner in which the four were appointed but we have agreed not to give MEC much pressure, more especially the chairperson,” he added.
Mathanga and Kunje were part of the Jane Ansah-led electoral commission which was declared incompetent for mismanaging the 2019 presidential polls.
Mutharika appointed six new MEC members and chairperson Justice Ch i f u n d o Ka c h a l e following the expiry of previous commissioners’ c o n t r a c t s a n d t h e resignation of former MEC chairperson Jane Ansah.
Apart from Nanthuru, Duwa, Kunje and Mathanga, other commissioners are Anthony John Mukumbwa and Olivia Liwewe.