The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has urged candidates and political parties, including all electoral stakeholders, to observe election rules and laws in next week’s tripartite elections.
A statement signed by MLS president Burton Mhango and honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde states that the lawyers’ body will hold accountable any person or group that will try to violate the Constitution in a bid to get into or sustain power.
The statement, released five days before the Tuesday elections, also urges candidates, political parties and their supporters to follow available conflict resolution mechanisms during the post-election period.
MLS further states that it is their expectation that the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the Judiciary, the media and other duty-bearers, carry out their duties in a professional manner both in the pre-election and post-election period.
Reads the statement: “Within the limits of our members’ professional responsibility and its statutory mandate, the Law Society shall not tolerate any disregard of the rule of law by any other institution in this period and beyond.”
On choice of candidates, MLS has advised voters to strictly examine the candidates and their policies to ensure they vote for someone with the will of the people at heart.
MLS has also asked Malawians that candidates seeking office must also spell out practical promises that will be fulfilled within the legal framework once elected.
Earlier during the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) interfaith conference on the clergy’s role in the elections held on April 24 and 25 in Blantyre, PAC chairperson the Reverend Dr Felix Chingota said the quasi-religious body had put in place several measures to deal with challenging scenarios should they emerge in the elections.
He said: “We don’t want that after the elections the loser goes into the streets or starts a guerrilla war. People may have different reservations about the results in elections but there are peaceful ways of resolving those issues, such as mediation.”
Among some of the interventions, Chingota said PAC has trained 140 youths to be allocated in violent-prone areas that will use mobile phones for early warning and response as well as identification of senior clergy members as a mediation team in conflict resolution.