The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has declared the 2020 presidential elections as ominous; claiming it will proceed to hold the elections despite technicalities and challenges for “credible elections”
MEC chairperson Chifundo Kachale said this in a statement on Wednesday.
The commission is expected to conduct fresh presidential elections this month following the nullification of the 2019 Presidential Elections.
On Wednesday, Kachale said the commission will publish in the gazette, June 23, 2020, as the poll date for the 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections.
He, however, noted that several challenges threaten the reality of conducting credible elections.
“The commission’s decision to publish the poling date has been arrived at with considerable hesitation arising from the practicalities of holding a genuine and credible election in view of logistical challenges that the commission anticipates in implementing steps towards the holding of the elections,” said Kachale.
He added that MEC will look to engage presidential candidates to notify them about these challenges and to explore mitigation measures with the aim of ensuring that the 2020 elections are free, fair and credible.
Last month, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the Constitutional Court’s decision to nullify the 2019 presidential elections saying they were marred by serious and troubling irregularities such as illegal alteration of large number of tally sheets and the use of tippex on result sheets.
According to the court, the irregularities undermined the credibility of the elections.
The court also said that the MEC commissioners who oversaw the elections demonstrated incompetence and neglect of duty.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, Justice Jane Ansah resigned as MEC chairperson last month. The contracts of the other eight commissioners expired on June 5.
President Peter Mutharika appointed new commissioners on June 7, but he retained two – Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje – from the previous commission. The Malawi leader also appointed Kachale as chairperson.
The commission already has a voter’s register for the elections and is currently conducting voter verification.
However, ballot papers are yet to be printed in Dubai. There are also challenges of importing the ballot papers into the country.