Malawi Law Society: No legal requirement for Electoral Commission chairperson to resign

Written by  MBC Online

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) says there is no legal requirement for the Electoral Commission Chairpersn Jane Ansah to resign following demands by rights activists and the opposition over her declaration of the May 21 presidential results, putting President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika as the winner.

18
July


The MLS says this in its July 12 statement titled 'Management of Electoral Complaints and Determination of Electoral Results Concerning Presidential Elections 2019'  addressed to President Arthur Peter Mutharika, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM party presidents Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima respectively, MEC Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC)  leader Timothy Mtambo, which was signed MLS honorary secretary Martha Kauonde.


“The Law Society notes that there is no legal requirement for the Electoral Commission Chairperson to resign should there be a dispute over an electoral outcome taken under Part IX and/or Part XI of the PPEA,” reads the statement. 


The MLS called “upon the organisers and supporters of the anti-MEC Chairperson demonstrations to deeply reflect on the value of such demonstrations while the substance of the subject matter remains a legal dispute being managed through the courts.


“No doubt, there is a right to demonstrate but we request the organisers and supporters to deeply reflect on this especially when on the two occasions so far, such demonstrations have led to destruction of property in circumstances which the nation is yet to get full information on”.


Meanwhile, the lawyer’s body has thrown its weight behind calls for dialogue over the current state of the nation, but was quick to mention that such negotiations are held for the mutual benefit of Malawians.


“The Law Society reckons that any political settlement reached at such negotiations can easily be managed into the legal dispute that, by its nature, currently holds the nation in a position of uncertainty. All leaders are required to subject any personal interests to the national interests in managing the announced outcome of the May 21 presidential elections,”


The Law Society has, therefore, recommended to all concerned parties to refrain from conducting themselves in any manner that suggests that they have taken over the power of the court.


“We encourage all addressees to bear in mind that under the constitutional order adopted by the people of Malawi in 1994, the law is the only standard to which all the people of Malawi can or ought to safely return for guidance on matters such as the current political stand-off regarding the outcome of the May 21 presidential polls.


“Unless the remedies available under the law were exhausted in circumstances which are justifiably unsatisfactory, there is no reason that can, in the interim, justify neglecting the rule of law," the MLS added.

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