Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said it is only the Constitutional Court which can postpone the fresh presidential elections slated for July 2, for fear of putting Malawians at risk of contracting coronavirus also know as Covid-19.

According to MEC this s because it is the same court which nullified May 21, 2019 presidential elections and ordered for fresh presidential elections.

The country has registered four cases and 60 people are being tracked on suspicion of having been in contact with three of those infected. Another 5,000 plus people who entered the country’s borders over the past 14 days are also supposed to be in self-quarantine

The news has  jeopardized the already precarious situation of the fresh election as calls have now been put to MEC to postpone and try to avert the high risk to the voters and staff.

Joint Civil Society Platform on Good Governance (JCSPGG) wrote to request MEC to seriously consider suspending the voter registration process in the advent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country until the spread is contained.

Media and public relations director for MEC Sangwani Mwafulirwa acknowledged receiving the letter but said they are implementing the process in strict adherence to the court order which said there should fresh election within 150 days from the 3rd of February.

“If you look at the polling date [July 2] we are just a day from the expiry of the mark that was given, the Commission at the moment will proceed with the arrangements of having the elections on the second of July.

“We cannot postpone the process unless there is an intervention from the same court or a higher court that gave us that order. If the Commission is going to take any measure varying the calendar that we have at the moment this will be communicated to the public,” he said.

Fryson Chodzi, National Coordinator for JCSPGG called on MEC to immediately move the Courts and seek relief on the time frame of holding the fresh presidential elections.

“It is our strong belief that the right to life and health is more sacred than any other right. We believe any political player who has the best interest of Malawians, would agree to moving forward the dates of the elections, because as there is no time frame to contain the virus apart from mitigating the factors that risk the spread,” reads part of the letter.

Mwafulirwa said the Commission is ‘really’ watchful of the situation.

“We have given our staff protective gear material, at the same time we are making sure that at every centre there is a bucket of water and soap for people to wash their hands and that even the conduct of the people should be in strict accordance to the regulations which have been given by government like observing of the social distancing,” he said.

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