Electoral Commission pens govt over Veep role

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Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has written the Attorney General (AG) Anthony Kamanga over the controversy surrounding the appointment of Vice President, Khumbo Kachali to oversee the electoral body.

Mec Chairperson Maxon Mendera confirmed the development Monday night on the sidelines of an EU organised debate during the World Human Rights Day in Lilongwe.

According to Mbendera, the electoral body has since requested for a meeting with the AG to iron out the matter as it is Mec’s conviction that the government erred through the move.

“We believe the appointment was an oversight and we would like it to be corrected. We are asking the AG to interpret the law, but our position is that the appointment was an error and it should be corrected,” Mbendera said.

“The move has a potential to undermine neutrality of our office. Mec is like a football referee and if a referee is seen with one of the teams before a game, football supporters will question his neutrality,” he said.

Efforts to seek Kamanga’s views proved futile as his phone went unanswered on several occasions.

During the debate, Mbendera said the body will not allow any authority to circumvent its independence.

“Mec is determined to see to it that it works independently without any influence or control, without anyone calling the shots. There is a conflict between section 76 (of the Constitution) which gives the minister his powers and 95 which give Mec its mandate,” said Mbendera, a former AG.

He said the Constitution empowers a minister to supervise, coordinate and oversee an institution he is responsible for and said the appointment of Kachali might affect Mec’s independence.

“I don’t think we can have a Mec which is subservient to any authority. We will keep our oath, we were nominated by others to serve the nation and we are determined to do so independently,” added Mbendera.

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