A failed attempt to place the country on a lockdown. An appeal case at the Supreme Court of Appeal. None of this will stop elections from happening. Battle lines for the July 2 presidential elections have been drawn.
Today, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) started receiving presidential nomination papers that saw the Malawi Congress Party/UTM supporters come in large numbers despite the threat of COVID-19, a disease caused by the Coronavirus.
The electoral body has since accepted three nominations, rejecting one.
So far, three candidates from various political parties have presented their nomination papers including UTMCP and other alliance partners’ leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera who has unveiled Dr. Saulos Chilima as his running mate.
The other one is Dominic Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development who urged Malawians to refrain from voting for crooked politicians who are plundering and embezzling public resources.
Independent candidate Reverend Hardwick Kaliya who was supposed to submit his nomination papers has endorsed UTMCP alliance.
MEC has rejected receiving nomination papers from an independent Ras David Chikomeni Chirwa, citing a lot of irregularities in the papers.
According to MEC’s Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika, the candidate failed to collect the required ten signatures from his affiliates and did not paid the nomination fee amounting to 2 million kwacha.
Alfandika said according to section 46 of electoral act, demands that every candidate contesting for presidential position to deposit 2 million kwacha nomination fee and collect ten signatures from party affiliates in each country’s district.
“There is need for Mr Chikomeni to bring us all the required things by the end of business tomorrow (Thursday) or else he will not appear on a ballot paper,” Alfandika explained.
Chikomeni who was accompanied by his mother, the designated running mate, faulted MEC’s decision saying the act has infringed his right to run as a president in the coming fresh presidential election.
This is not the first time for Ras Chikomeni to be denied submitting the papers.
Chikomeni’s application was also rejected in the nullified 2019 elections.
“I failed to collect all the nomination signatures due to coronavirus outbreak where government had put restriction measures including lockdown, so I couldn’t manage to go in every district.
On two million kwacha nomination fee, as a candidate I wasn’t to pay the money on my own, there was some donor from South Africa who promised to pay the money on my behalf, we discussed this with MEC officials and they know this,” said Chikomeni Chirwa.
Tomorrow, President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party – DPP is expected to submit his papers with high chances of picking United Democratic Front – UDF President as his running mate.
MEC Chairperson Justice Jane Ansha has urged political parties to promote issue based politics and refrain from inciting violence during campaign period.
Following the convergence of multitudes as the UTM/MCP alliance leadership presented their papers earlier today, health minister Jappie Mhango has described the development as “immature and condescending to the country’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 “. It remains to be seen if DPP and the others will practice what one of their own is preaching at such a time when show of numeric strength is seen as crucial ahead of the July 2 polls.