Commissioner Nkosi asks for confidentiality without realizing she had been live on radios all along

By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi Electoral Commissioner, Bishop Mary Nkosi, probably after realizing she had been very brunt and and revealing in her testimony  before the Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee, requested that her testimony be kept confidential fearing the media may feast on. 

This was when she had been excused to leave and seemingly not aware that Times and Zodiac radios were covering the whole event live, Nkosi asked the Committee if they could keep her testimony confidential.

PAC chairperson Collins Kajawa and his deputy
Rachel Mazombwe

But damage had already been done because the Bishop made several revelations which might be used to corner the other Commissioners who are expected to appear before the Committee — Jean Mathanga, Rev. Dr. Killion Mgawi, Ambassador Yahaya M’madi, Justice Dr. Jane Ansah, Linda Kunje, Dr. Moffat Banda and Rev. Clifford Baloyi.

After Nkosi came Commissioner Elvey Mtafu, who floundered all the way throughout the hearing.

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In her testimony, Nkosi said she had planned to tender her resignation as a Commissioner because they had been forced to sign the presidential election result sheet when they were on their way to the swearing-in ceremony held at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

She said they were supposed sign the result sheet before the announcement of the results.

Nkosi taking her oath

She said she had consulted her lawyer on her plans to resign, saying her conscience could not allow her to continue serving MEC but she decided not to in order not to lose her benefits she had accumulated in her three years of service.

Nkosi and her fellow Commissioners’ tenure of office ends in June 2020 while that of chairperson Justice Ansah is expected to end in October 2020.

She told PAC that she found it strange for them to sign the results sheet when the president-elect was already at the venue of swearing in ceremony.

MEC chairperson Jane Ansah

She said MEC was wrong in announcing the presidential election results when they were affected by irregularities.

Nkosi said she and other Commissioners were shocked to learn that Tippex had been widely used by polling staff to correct figures on tally sheets and that Justice Ansah was the one who authorized polling staff to continue using the altered tally sheets.

According to Nkosi, MEC chairperson Ansah also wrote a letter to auditors telling them to continue announcing results based on the altered tally sheets.

The rest of PAC members

She suggested that there was a need to review the system of appointing the Commissioners, who are nominated by political parties.

PAC is hearing the Commissioners after the Constitutional Court annulled the May 21, 2019 presidential election results after noting the grave irregularities and anomalies that compromised the integrity of the results.

Commentators on social media noted that Nkosi really crucified her chairperson without mercy obviously believing the testimony was being shared confidential.

Nkosi leaving the Committee Room.—Pictures

One commentator said unless the interviewers have a different set of questions for each Commissioner, others may use Nkosi’s testimony for their interviews with the others.

“The rest [of the Commissioners] have a difficult task,” another said. “The first interviewee [Nkosi] has pitched the bar rather too high for others.”

However, another made the other Commissioners will not have it easy to counter issues she has raised.