Malawi Electoral Commission

Updated February 2019

The Constitution of Malawi mandates the establishment of an Electoral Commission that is independent of any external authority (Constitution 1994, Articles 75, 76(4)). The High Court has the right of judicial review over the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to ensure that it acts in accordance with the Constitution and Acts of Parliament (Constitution 1994, Articles 76(3), (5)(a)). The National Assembly has the power to confirm the constituency boundaries but is not empowered to alter them, except upon recommendation of the MEC (Constitution 1994, Article 76(5)(b)). The MEC is assisted in the execution of its tasks by a Chief Elections Officer who is appointed by the MEC and answerable to it (Electoral Commission Act (CAP 2:03), 12(1)-(3)).

Composition

The MEC comprises a Chairperson, who is a judge nominated by the Judicial Service Commission and other members, not fewer than six, who are appointed by the President on consultation with the leaders of the political parties represented in the National Assembly (Constitution 75(1); Electoral Commission Act (CAP 2:03), 4(1)). Members may be removed by the President, on advice of the Public Appointments Committee, for incompetence or incapacity (Constitution 1994, Article 75(1), (4)).

Functions

The functions of the MEC are to (Constitution 1994, Article 76(2); Electoral Commission Act (CAP 2:03), 8(1)):

  • Delimit constituencies.
  • Determine election petitions.
  • Direct and supervise electoral operations including voter registration.
  • Ensure the security of elections.
  • Conduct civic and education and create election awareness.

Term of Office

Office is for a four year period, unless appointed for a new four-year term (Constitution 1994, 75(3)(a)).

Commission Members

The members of the MEC are (Government of Malawi 2020):

  • Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale (Chair)
  • Arthur Nanthuru
  • Steven Duwa
  • Dr. Jean Mathanga
  • Linda Kunje
  • Anthony Mukumbwa
  • Olivia Liwewe

Chief Elections Officer Sammy Njirammadzi Alfandika (MEC 2015).

Funding

The MEC is funded in the main by parliamentary appropriations and in part by foreign donors (Electoral Commission Act (CAP 2:03), 15(1)(f), EISA 2004, 15).

Reports

For an example of a post-eclection report by the MEC see: Malawi Electoral Commission Report on Tripartite Elections May 2014.

References

CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI 1994, [www] http://www.sdnp.org.mw/constitut/brfindx.html (accessed 20 Feb 2019).

EISA 2004 Election Update: Malawi 2004, 2.

Electoral Commission Act (Chapter 2:03) (includes amendments to 2010).

Government of Malawi, [www] Press Release: Public Appointments.

MEC 2015 "Executive Management", [www] http://www.mec.org.mw/profiles/Executive_Managment.html (accessed 20 Feb 2019).

MEC 2016 "MEC Commissioners 2016-2021", [www] http://www.mec.org.mw/profiles/MEC_COMMISSIONERS_2016-2021.html (accessed 20 Feb 2019).

Official website

MEC: http://www.mec.org.mw/ (accessed 9 Jun 2020).