By Joshua Mphanda, MEC Stringer
The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has fired Tibbu Phiri, a Constituency Returning Officer (CRO) for Lilongwe Mpenu following a suspicious meeting he had with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary General, Eisenhower Mkaka who is also parliamentary aspirant for the area.
Phiri, a Primary Education Advisor (PEA) working as a CRO at Mpenu had invited primary school Headmasters of the area who will be serving as Presiding Officers in the 21 May polls to a meeting with the MCP aspirant on 7 May at Matapila TDC where he alleges Mkaka wanted to articulate his development ideas to them.
The meeting took place just nearby where UTM was conducting a rally and this did not amuse the people there who filed a complaint with MEC which soon conducted investigations.
Speaking in an interview, Lilongwe District Elections Supervisory Team (DEST) Chairperson who is also District Commissioner, Lawford Palani said they had resolved to fire the CRO following a recommendation from MEC who described his conduct as improper and being partisan after investigations.
“We at Lilongwe District Council follow electoral laws and we received a complaint that Mr. Tibbu Phiri had invited headmasters who will be serving as Presiding Officers in these elections to a meeting with Mpenu Constituency shadow MP, Eisenhower Mkaka where he discussed his development projects with them and we felt it was improper hence upon investigations by MEC we opted to dismiss him because his actions almost compromised the whole electoral process there,” said Palani.
Palani also described the dismissal as a demonstration of Lilongwe District’s preparedness to deliver a credible election and has already written to the Regional Election Officer proposing Boston Manyasa as the returning officer for the area.
Commenting on the matter, Chancellor College political analyst, Mustapha Hussein welcomed the dismissal as it will serve as an example to others.
“Well this is a commendable decision taken to fire him and will go in a long way to serve as an example because these people are not supposed to take gifts from politicians or align themselves with political parties due to the sensitive nature of their job,” said Hussein.
#Photo, Lilongwe District Elections Supervisory Team (DEST) chairperson, Lawford Palani has already written MEC Regional Elections Officer for a replacement