Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Justice Dr. Jane Ansah, has written President Peter Mutharika asking him to notify political parties to hire new Commissioners as contracts for the current ones comes to an end on June 5, while that of chairperson will end in October 2020.
This was disclosed during the meeting which Legal Affairs Committee of parliament had with MEC officials on Wednesday.
MEC Chief Elections Officer, Sam Alfandika, said the letter was sent a week ago and they are still waiting for response.
Alfandika said: “MEC chairperson has informed the head of state about the expiry of the contracts and the process has to commerce on whether to have new commissioners or re-appoint some of the current commissioners because without them we can’t proceed to implement electoral process.”
Alfandika also revealed that out of K10 billion funding which MEC requested from the treasury, only K3.5 billion has been released a situation which he said will affect the running of the election.
“In the event that this money is finished in the course of implementing voter registration exercise then it will be a big challenge for us to proceed so all we need is a proper flow of activities and that can only be attained through adequate funding throughout the process,” he said.
And on his part, Chairperson for the Legal Affairs Committee, Kezzie Msukwa, said even though MEC has written the President, but it’s unfortunate that the president chose to give a blind eye to the committee’s recommendation to hire a new crop of commissioners.
“We pushed on laws and report to the president but he didn’t assent so what basically means is that we are back to status call and it comes this time around when the commissioners’ contract is expiring long into the electioneering period which is very unfortunate,” complained Msukwa.
Msukwa also accused the commissioners that when they were fixing the dates for the election they already knew about the expiry of their contracts and “it was just a clever way of having their contracts extended”.