|Commissioner Rev Ambassador Emmanuel Chinkwita-Phiri|
PRESENTED BY COMMISSIONER AMBASSADOR REV. EMMANUEL CHINKWITA PHIRI DURING NECOF HELD ON NOVEMBER 29, 2013 MT SOCHE HOTEL, BLANTYRE
· Your Lordship, Justice Maxon Mbendera, Sc, Chairman Malawi Electoral Commission
· Fellow Commissioners
· Chief Elections Officer and all members of Commission Secretariat
· Your Excellencies members of the Diplomatic Corps and Representatives of all development partners present here
· Paramount Chiefs
· The Chairperson for Centre for Multi-Party Democracy (CMD)
· Honourable Secretaries General and Leaders of Political Parties
· Distinguished Members from the Civil Society Organisations
· Representatives of the Honourable Attorney General, the Commander of the Malawi Defence Forces and the Inspector General of Police
· Senior Government Officials
· Distinguished Members of the Press
· Ladies and Gentlemen
My presentation this morning is concentrated on nomination procedures and logistics because that is the next crucial activity the Commission will conduct involving electoral stakeholders after registration. Stakeholders are, therefore, being accorded an opportunity to get clarification and provide input to the proposed process for consideration where necessary by the Commission.
The Commission gazetted Notice of Nomination fees on 8th August, 2013 as per requirement of the law that a notice on nomination fees should be gazette at least six months before commencement of receipt of nomination papers. This legal requirement has also necessitated a review on the electoral calendar with respect to nomination dates. In your document packs you have the revised calendar.
In preparation for nominations, the Commission will conduct one day briefings to all District Commissioners, Chief Executives of Councils and District Elections Clerks from 6th to 15th January, 2014. This will be 7 sessions to cover the entire country aimed at preparing them on how to handle the nominations in their respective councils, constituencies and wards.
Nomination forms will be ready for collection from 16th January, 2014 in all the councils from other interested candidates. The Commission will also distribute nomination forms to all political parties through the CMD according to their requirements from 16 January 2014. The Commission shall record serial numbers of all nomination papers sent to each political party to guard against multiple candidates from the same party in the same constituency or ward. Nomination forms shall be available for collection from the councils up to 14th February, 2014.
It is provided under the laws that aspiring candidates can take their forms to Returning Officers have prior examination to ascertain that they are correctly filled before the actual day of presentation. In the event that some candidates have not filled the forms correctly, they are advised that they have them duly and correctly filled before the day of receipt of nominations. This is done to minimize instances of rejected nominations. The Commission encourages all aspiring candidates to make maximum use of this provision. This is also why the Commission has planned to brief a lot of officers at the council level on the nomination procedures so that this service is readily accessible.
RECIEPT OF NOMINATION PAPERS
The electoral calendar has provided for 5 days, from 10th to 14th February 2014 during which Returning Officers shall receive nomination forms from aspirants.
The Returning Officers shall receive nomination forms from aspiring candidates as follows:
(a) Presidential Candidates
The venue for receipt of the nomination forms from the presidential candidates is at MEC offices Boardroom or at any other place the Commission might decide. The Commission shall preside over the exercise. This will be done as follows:
i. A programme shall be drawn outlining the day and time when each candidate shall present his/her nomination forms to the Commission.
ii. A specified number of supporters, depending on the venue, as determined by the Commission shall accompany the candidate to witness the receipt of the nomination ceremony.
iii. A special bank deposit slip shall be designed through which candidates shall use to deposit the nomination fees. There will be no handling of cash or cheques.
iv. The candidate shall be required to bring with him / her bank deposit slip as evidence that he/she has deposited the nomination fees.
v. The MEC Secretariat staff shall examine the nomination form to see to it that it is correctly filled and that it bears all the requirements as prescribed by the law.
vi. After this exercise, the Commission shall accept the nomination form and have the bank deposit slip attached to it as evidence that the aspiring candidate had deposited the nomination fees. But the onus to ensure that the account has been credited will be the candidate’s.
vii. The Commission through its secretariat shall then request the candidate to have his/her photograph taken and the details required for generation of ballot paper taken e.g. Surname, first name, affiliation and symbol
viii. A print out of the information so taken shall be made for the candidate to verify that indeed the information is correct and then the candidate shall be required to sign for it.
ix. This process shall be repeated for all candidates and at the end of it all, a ballot paper template shall be generated.
x. For this process to happen there shall be made available at the nomination venue a laptop, scanner and a printer to capture details.
(b) Parliamentary Candidates
The venue for receipt of nominations for Parliamentary candidates shall be in District Headquarters. Constituency Returning Officers (CROs) shall preside over the exercise. Each CRO shall be responsible for a constituency and two wards in that constituency. This will be done as follows:
i. A programme shall be drawn outlining the day(s) and time(s) when receipt of nomination for each candidate shall be done.
ii. Since the CRO shall preside over two elections, specific number of days in the week shall be dedicated to receipt of nomination for one election.
iii. Receipt of nomination shall be done in an open court where each candidate may bring his / her supporters to witness the receipt of the nomination form.
iv. As with presidential nomination, a special bank deposit slip shall be designed through which candidates shall use to deposit nomination fees.
v. The candidate shall be required to bring with him / her bank deposit slip as evidence that he / she has deposited the nomination fees.
vi. The CRO shall examine the nomination form to see to it that it is correctly filled and that it bears all the requirements as prescribed by the law.
xi. After this exercise, the CROs shall accept the nomination form and have the bank deposit slip attached to it as evidence that he/she has deposited nomination fees. But the onus to ensure that the account has been credited will be the candidate’s.
vii. There shall be equipment (a laptop, scanner and printer) to service two CROs and candidate will to have his / her photograph taken and details required for generation of a ballot paper as done with presidential nominations.
viii. A print out of the information so taken shall be made for a candidate to certify that indeed the information is correct and the candidate shall be required to sign for it.
ix. This process shall be repeated for all candidates until the and at the end of it all, a ballot paper template for the constituency shall be generated.
(c) Ward Councillor Candidates
The same process as for Members of Parliament above shall be repeated by the same CROs.
In cities, municipalities and towns, receipt of nominations for councillors shall be done in respective local council headquarters away from district headquarters.
PAYMENT OF NOMINATION FEES
The Commission has decided that payment of nomination fees should be done through Malawi Savings Bank. Special deposit slips will be printed with the bank account numbers.
Two accounts will be used. Nomination fees for parliamentary and presidential elections will be made into one account while fees for ward councillors will be paid into another account. The account numbers will already be printed on the forms. We encourage all aspiring candidates to ensure that they fill the forms correctly. The depositor’s name should be the name of the candidate and should be exactly as one filled filled on the form.
Nomination fees should be deposited before the nomination forms are brought for submission. Candidates will be required to fill the deposit slips in triplicate. One form is kept by the bank, one will be submitted to MEC and the other one the candidate should retain as their evidence of payment.
As a reminder the nomination fees are as follows:
(a) Candidates for Presidential Elections:
(b) Candidates for Member of Parliament Elections:
K200,000.00 for male candidates
K150,000.00 for female candidates
(c) Candidates for Local Government Elections:
K20,000.00 for male candidates
K15,000.00 for female candidates
Please take note that the nomination deposit for parliamentary and presidential candidates is refundable upon the candidate getting 5% or more of the total valid votes cast while nomination deposit for the candidates for Ward Councillor is non-refundable.
I urge you to help the Commission send this message to all aspirants.
At this juncture, allow me to resume my seat.
I thank you all.