By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has rejected the request from Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera asking MEC that the symbol that was submitted together with his nomination paper be replaced with that of the electoral alliance the MCP has with UTM Party.
According to a letter from MEC to Chakwera dated May 15, says the nomination papers Chakwera presented on May 6 at Mount Soche Hotel indicated that his candidate is being sponsored by a political party in the name of MCP.
“Such being the case, your nomination in terms of symbol is regulated by both the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and the Political Parties Act, 2018,” says the letter signed by MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah, SC.
“Under the Parliamentary and Presidential Act, if a candidate is to stand for or to be sponsored by a political party, like in your case, the fact shall be specified together with the tname of the political party, the name of the candidate and the distinct symbol and other particulars approved by the Commission which the candidate wishes to appear on the ballot paper with him.
“The Malawi Congress Party is a registers political party. The distinctive symbol of the party was submitted and approved by the Registrar of Political Parties under Section 12 (2) (v) of the Political Parties Act.
“The Commission has not been made aware of any change to this particular aspect as approved by the Registrar of Political Parties.
“Therefore the Commission, having considered the matter, has decided not to grant your request. The Commission will use the party symbol which you already submitted together with your nomination paper.”
The MCP and UTM, together with other political parties are in annelectoral alliance for the fresh presidential elections scheduled for July 2.
Chakwera’s running mate is the country’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is the UTM president.
Chilima stood for the presidency during the May 21, 2019 tripartite elections under the UTM ticket and when he lost, he sought court intervention in partnership with MCP’s Chakwera — citing seriously irregularities on the part of MEC during the elections.
The Constitutional Court ruled that indeed there were some irregularities in the May 21, 2019 presidential elections and thus ordered that there be fresh elections within 150 days from the judgement done on February 3.
The incumbent President Peter Mutharika’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party is also in an electoral alliance with United Democratic Front, whose president Atupele Muluzi is the running mate.