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Malawi President Chakwera fires MEC commissioners Mathanga, Kunje; law expert says MCP obsessed with power

MEC Chair Chifundo Kachale

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Despite getting legal advice from law experts former Attorney General Ralph Kasambara and Sunduzwayo Madise to refer the controversial issue of the appointment of two Commissioners of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Miss Linda Kunje and Mrs  Jean Mathanga to the High Court for its opinion as to whether the recommendations from  public Appointments Committee of Parliament were in line with the Constitution and Electoral Commission Act, President Lazarus Chakwera has proceeded with a decision to fire the duo.

According to a letter signed by Secretary to the President and Cabinet, the two Commissioners have been fired on the premise that they were adjudged incompetent by the Supreme Court of Appeal in the Presidential Elections Case.

The letter further says following the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the two Commissioners’ appointment was rendered defective and did not qualify for re-appointment.

This comes just days after the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) sued the presidency for appointing four MEC commissioners and want the High Court to declare their appointment illegal.

There is already a case in court where Mathanga and Kunje sued President Chakwera and the electoral body to court demanding their appointment letters, honoraria, allowances and related benefits backdated to June 7 2020 when they were appointed.

Ironically, in August last year, Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe, who is the principal legal advisor of the government, advised government through the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi to formally write appointment letters to the two.

Commissioners Mathanga and Kunje were re-appointed by former President Arthur Peter Mutharika and they were part of the MEC team that is praised for delivering a fair and credible fresh presidential election.

Meanwhile, a legal pugilism has ensued in different social media platforms with many law experts faulting the government for being “obsessed with power.”

“The problem is, if the commissioners are to sue government….the right party to be sued is the AG. In such a scenario where the AGs opinion was disregarded, how is he to defend government’s actions in court?” queried one social media user who goes by the name Agoroso.

Section 4 of the amended Electoral Commission Act of 2017 empowers parties that obtain one-tenth of the parliamentary seats submit to the President a minimum of three nominees.

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Maneno Chimulala
Maneno Chimulalahttps://www.maravipost.com
I am a journalist, educator, and activist with passion for telling stories about social justice, sports and political issues. I graduated from Mzuzu University. I started my career at the Maravi Post online publication in 2012 as an intern while in college. Upon graduating from Mzuzu University I was offered a job as Sports Reporter because of my background as a goalkeeper and rose to the position of sub editor. I also had a short stint with Nyasatimes, Malawi Punch and Malawi Digest. Over the past seven years, I have worked intimately with rural organizations and communities in Malawi on human rights, girl child education and grassroots development projects. With an academic background in education, I also volunteer as male champion for girls’ education under Girls Empowerment Networks (GENET) in Malawi’s South West Education Division (SWED).

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