? Honourable Professor Peter Mutharika, the Presidential Candidate and your Running Mate
? The Chief Elections Officer, Mr Willie Kalonga, your deputies and all members of staff of the Commission Secretariat
? Your Excellencies members of the Diplomatic Corps and Representatives of all development partners present here
? Honourable Leaders of Political Parties
? Distinguished Members from the Civil Society Organisations
? Members of the Clergy
? Distinguished Members of the Press
? Ladies and Gentlemen
We are gathered here to witness one of the most historic moments as we prepare for the elections on 20th May, 2014. The Presentation of Nomination Papers by a Presidential Candidate is very significant. From today to Friday, the Commission will officially get to know each one of those interested to contest for the presidency of this country. This function today which is an opener concerns the presentation of nomination papers by Professor Peter Mutharika, a candidate sponsored by the Democratic Progressive Party.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to appreciate the bold move taken by the Candidate, Honourable Professor Peter Mutharika. Out of a population of 16 million, you have come forward to present your candidature for the Office of President. We salute you, Sir. Could we all give the candidate a big round of applause!
Our Honorable Candidate, elections are a competition which no one participates with an expectation of losing. However, it remains a clear fact that only one person emerges winner at the end. The race sometimes can get intense and muddy. I urge you to confine yourself to a civilized campaign. Malawians are tired of mud-slinging and foul-mouthed electioneering. For a change, they want this election to be issue-based. I would like to urge you, Sir, to champion the cause for a clean campaign.
The Commission, in consultation with all political parties and electoral stakeholders developed a Code of Conduct for Candidates and Political Parties during elections. This Code of Conduct provides guidelines of how to conduct campaign and some of the things which candidates or their followers should not do.
I would like to urge you, Sir, and your Party to publicize the Code of Conduct and to observe it.
Further to that, elections have guiding legislation. The Commission has compiled all the electoral laws into one booklet.
I urge you to find time within your busy schedule to go through all the literature we will give you today.
We would like to assure you, Sir, that the Commission, on its part, is geared to deliver a free, fair and credible election to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. We continue to renew our pledge that we shall work professionally, independently and with impartiality in the management of these polls.
For the record let me address the question of the Green Card although it is no longer an issue in these elections. I would like to inform the nation that the Commission sought independent legal advice from three distinguished legal practitioners.
We consulted the Attorney General. The Attorney General is the head of the Malawi Bar. He is a Senior Counsel in his own right. We also consulted an eminent Senior Counsel of 20 years standing at senior counsel level. In addition we put the same question before the Commission’s retained firm of lawyers. These distinguished lawyers, independent of each other, advised the Commission that a holder of a green card cannot and should not be barred from contesting on that ground at all. The decisions of Malawi Electoral Commission on any issue are not made capriciously. We do not make decisions actuated by malice or affinity. Our decisions are solely based on law and legal precedents.
As we prepare for the May, 20, 2014 elections, there is a lot of work to be done on civic and voter education. I, therefore, urge you that as you conduct political rallies, you should take time to teach people about elections, more especially how to vote. For the 2014 elections, we will have Local Government Elections which will be a new thing to the generation that has grown up with no councillors. Therefore, it is also your duty to ensure that everyone is aware about the elections so that they are able to vote on May 20, 2014.
From here, we shall proceed to scrutinize your papers and we shall declare you duly nominated or otherwise seven days after the receipt of the last nomination papers.
Let me also inform you that the official campaign for this election will start on March 21, 2014.
With these few remarks, I wish you the best of luck in your campaign for the highest office of President.
• May God bless your campaign.
• May God Bless you all
• May God bless Malawi.
• I thank you for your attention.