Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has rejected the nomination paper of Parliamentary candidate for Leadership with Compassion Party (LCP) Promise Kaunda in the impending by-election in Karonga Northwest constituency due to underage.
The stunning announcement was made on Thursday at the constituency’s nerve centre, Maghemo secondary school during the vetting of ballot paper templates by MEC officials and the District Elections’ Supervisory Team (DEST) to ascertain candidates’ eligibility.
According to MEC’s rejection form going to Kaunda but signed by Karonga Northwest Constituency Returning Officer Janet Chawinga, the reason for the rejection is due to underage, citing the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act 40 section 1.
Chawinga said Kaunda was born on February 21, 2001 therefore will be 21 years on February 21, 2022 but the law requires anybody contesting as a Member of Parliament to have attained the age of 21 at the time of presenting one’s nomination papers”.
However, Kaunda played down the issue, saying “I will fight on to rectify the anomaly before printing of the ballot papers, saying changes on his year of birth came about due to other circumstances years back.”
He said his birth certificate shows that was born in 1999 but when he went to register for his national identity card with National Registration Bureau (NRB he reduced his birth year to 2001.
However, he said will write MEC through the appeal form and attach his birth certificate to authenticate the case
Kaunda has since urged his supporters to remain calm while he sorts out issues that are standing his way to victory which he said is imminent.
In a separate interview, LCP President Dr. Sally Kumwenda simply said Promise has the birth certificate which indicates his birth as August 21, 1999.
However she said was not talking more about that and just needs to follow the protocols advised by MEC otherwise I am not really surprised with the rejection. I leave the situation in God’s hands”.
However, Karonga District Returning Officer who is also acting District Commission David Gondwe said “the vetting process went well and eight candidates out of nine have been approved except one whose age is below the minimum age.”
In an interview on Friday, a Chancellor College based law expert Professor Garton Kamchedzera hinted that continued change of one’s birth dates is a criminal offense which is prosecutable.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa said the Commission will only address issues documented during the vetting exercise when it receives all complaints from the affected candidates in conformity with electoral laws
Meanwhile, two candidates in Nsanje district have pulled out of the race.
This came to right during vetting exercise which happened on the 11th of March 2021.
One of the candidates from Nsanje North constituency Kennedy Jailosi who was representing UTM said he had pulled out of the race because of financial problems.
Jailosi said since the party is silent on the forth coming by-election he cannot manage on his own.
United Democrat Front UDF candidate from Nsanje Central constituency Laston Saidi Katole said he will not contest since they are in an alliance with Democrat Progressive party whose candidate is Francis Kasaila.
Speaking after the whole exercise, acting director of administration and human resources, who is the team leader for Nsanje central constituency King Rudi advised those who pulled out of the race to put it in writing.
“The whole process saying it has gone on well,” Rudi
Speaking in an interview after verifying his details, Malawi Congress Party MCP Candidate Kafandikhale Mandevana said he is ready to face his rivals.
Mandevana said the pulling out of one candidate from the race is not new and it shows democracy.
He further advised his followers to avoid violence during campaigns.
Nsanje central had five contestants who appeared on the ballot paper in the previous elections but now one has pulled out while Esmy Hubert Bande who was representing DEPECO is believed to be abroad.
While Nsanje North constituency had four contestants on the ballot paper in the 2019 tripartite elections and one has pulled out while another is abroad Patrick Bande who was an independent candidate.