President Professor Peter Mutharika Tuesday advised Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioners and the electoral body’s heavy weights to only adopt reforms that are reasonable, workable and practical.
Mutharika said this at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when the Commissioners and MEC officials presented a report of the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The President said he was fully aware and has followed the ongoing discussions regarding the need to make certain changes to the electoral law of the country.
However, he reminded the Commissioners that the fundamental constitutional principle requires that all laws enacted in the country must reflect the wishes of the people of Malawi and not that of particular individuals.
“With careful consultation and consideration, some of the proposed reforms may be unnecessary because the real problem lies in the manner the commission discharges its constitutional mandate and not because of any inadequacies in the law.
“Whatever work you have done or are doing must have the support of the people of Malawi. Therefore, MEC must resist the temptation of proposing reforms as a response to sectoral complaints as opposed to a real and genuine national concern,” the president explained.
He further said, “Change in the law alone cannot deliver the desired results unless that change starts with you commissioners.
As commissioners, you must be fully cognisant of your mandate as conferred on the Commission by the constitution.”
Among the proposed reforms include; re-demarcation of wards and constituencies, adoption and use of the biometric voter registration system in the future elections and the use 50+1 System in identifying the winner especially for presidential.
On re-demarcation of wards and constituencies, the President advised that the process be done properly and according to the dictates of the law.
Mutharika however was pleased to have received the report which he said will help in planning for the next elections.
“Though 18 month has passed since you organised and managed the first ever tripartite elections, I am delighted to receive the report from you pursuant to the constitution as well as statutory mandate conferred on the electoral commission by law,” the President said.
Maxone Mbendera, MEC Chairperson assured the President that the Commission will perform as mandated by the law and that the wishes of Malawians are granted.
“We assure you that we will deliver our best and in the interest of all Malawians,” briefly Mbendera said.
Mbendera however could not divulge any minute detail of the report saying, “ the report highlights how the 2014 elections were handled, identifies some of the areas that need change, how some aspect of the electoral process should be managed as well as about the task force that has been established to implement the reforms.”
According to section 6 of the constitution of Malawi, MEC has an obligation to report to the President on new developments the commission is undertaking.
The 2014 reported was supposed to be presented in 2015 but it failed due to the President’s busy schedule.