Malawians are sharply criticizing their
country's Electoral Commission for what they describe as its lackadaisical
attitude towards determining the eligibility of Ex-President Bakili Muluzi
ahead of May 19 general election. Muluzi is constitutionally barred from
running for the presidency after serving two consecutive terms as Malawi's
leader from 1994 to 2004. Some Malawians say the delay in determining the
former president's status could potentially plunge the country into chaos. They
contend that if the decision is made too close to the election and disqualified
the former president his supporters might take up arms in protest. Justice
Anastasia Msosa is the chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission. She
tells reporter Peter Clottey that the electoral body will soon make a decision
on the status of the former president.
would say that the preparations are going on well. We are currently working on
the voter register; we have received nominations and we are in the process of
just ensuring that the information and details on the aspirants are correct,"
Justice Msosa said.
said the electoral body would soon decide the status of the former president.
a commission we haven't yet decided because we are going to make a decision at
a time that would be deciding who is going to stand and who is not going to
stand. It is because the process of which we are doing at the moment is
laborious and as I said we are vetting the names that we have and ensuring that
the details are alright. Then at the end that is where we are going to
determine the status of the former president," she said.
Msosa said the electoral commission recognizing the enormous pressure from
ordinary Malawians to expedite the decision.
know, whatever the case we have to follow the laws. The exercise we are doing
now is an exercise, which involves everybody. And when it comes to determining
who is going to stand and who will not, we make a decision at the same time"
Justice Msosa pointed out.
said there is a cordial relationship between the electoral commission and the
participating parties in the upcoming general election.
political parties are cooperative although I have seen that of late they have
been concerned about this issue (eligibility of the former president). We are
also concerned about this issue because we would like the political parties to
have confidence in us," she said.
Msosa said the electoral body aims to organize free and fair election this
fact that is what we are doing to ensure that the elections are fair, free and
transparent and credible. We are doing all we can to ensure that we achieve that,"
Justice Msosa noted.
said the electoral body has not only invited both local and international
observers for the election, but also opened its doors for the participating
political parties to channel their grievances.
have invited observers and we are open. And we have even encouraged the
political parties that if they have got any issues, our doors are open and they
should discuss their problems with us. So, we intend to strictly abide by the
law and this is exactly what we are doing, abiding by the law. It is only
because there is an anxiety because what is happening, especially this process
that we are going through at the moment is a process which always takes place
after people have presented their nomination papers. But it is only that the
people are anxious," she said.
go to the polls May 19 in an election that observers say is expected to be
hotly contested between incumbent President Bingu Wa Mutharika and former
President Bakili Muluzi.