Fresh polls in July-MEC

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By Christy Gomani

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has set July 2 for the fresh presidential election.

 According to MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah, the poll will be held in accordance to the Constitutional Court’s determination that they be held within 150 days of its February 3 judgment.

In her statement, the under fire MEC chair disclosed that voter registration for the polls will run for one month between 4 April and 7June in four phases of 14 days each.

She further revealed that the commission has opened the process for eligible aspirants to collect nomination papers starting Monday.

 

All aspirants, she said, will have to part with a two million Kwacha non-refundable fee to be paid before receipt of nomination papers on 23 and 24 April.

Asked as if she and her fellow commissioners are comfortable to preside over the fresh polls amid rejection from political parties and several stakeholders, Ansah defiantly responded in the affirmative.

Meanwhile, in face of the coronavirus pandemic, the MEC is disclosing that masks, gloves, water and hand sanitisers will be available for purposes of sanitation in all places.

Furthermore, the electoral body intends to champion strict observance of distance between individuals as well as ensure gatherings of less than 100 people during meetings.

Resource-wise, the fresh polls have been budgeted at 34 billion Kwacha to be funded by tax payers with the international community yet to come in with donor support.

 

Ansah was however quick to indicate that the may shoot with the coronavirus pandemic as the proposed amount was made before the outbreak.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders including the electorate, churches and political parties are protesting the capability of the current MEC to handle the fresh polls accusing it of mismanaging the May 2019 elections.

The commission was dismissed as incompetent by the constitutional court as well as Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee (PAC) and a recommendation was made for President Mutharika to sack it, a suggestion that he recently overruled.

 

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