Filling and submission of nomination papers

 

Collection of nomination papers began on August 16, 2017 when MEC launched the by-elections in the areas where they will take place.

Submission of nomination papers will be on September 8, 2017 and the Commission has provided September 7, 2017 for all aspirants to take their nomination papers to the Ward/Constituency Returning Officers for pre-inspection. But this does not preclude the aspirants from engaging their returning officers at any point in time regarding filling of the papers.

As candidates are in the process of collecting and filling nomination papers, this week in this column we discuss some issues to consider when filling the papers.

For both, parliamentary and local government elections, the nomination needs to be nominated or supported by at least 10 signatories. These need to be registered voters from the ward or constituency where the candidate wishes to stand. It should be noted that the law allows anyone to contest in any ward or constituency in the country regardless of where they stay, they were registered or they come from. The nominators need to endorse only one candidate. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the candidates to check whether their nominators have endorsed another candidate or not before they sign the nomination forms.

Candidates also need to attach their photograph to the nomination paper. This goes into the records and can be used for backup in case of eventualities. The Commission has planned to take pictures of candidates during submission of nomination papers. Therefore, although the law accepts the nomination papers to be submitted on behalf of a candidate, the Commission is encouraging all candidates to ensure that they present themselves during submission of nomination papers.

Candidates also need to attach proof of their ability to read and speak English. This can be in form of notarized certificate or a sworn affidavit by Commissioner of Oaths that the aspirant is able to read and speak English. There is no mention of minimum educational qualification for one to contest in the elections.

The nomination papers also require the aspirants to declare through an oath that they meet the eligibility criteria to contest; that is they are not currently employed in public service, have not been convicted of a crime bordering on moral turpitude and dishonesty within the past seven years, they are of age eligible to contest, they are Malawian citizens among other requirements. Candidates should ensure that the information they provide is true to the best of their knowledge. If they are serving public servants they should resign before the day of submitting the nomination papers. If it is discovered that they submitted nomination papers while still serving as public servants, they will be disqualified from contesting and prosecuted for presenting false information.

Contestants should also choose their representative. This is the person the Commission can contact in the event they are unable to get in touch with the candidate.

Candidates should not fail to attach a deposit slip for their nomination fees because that is proof of payment. The name of depositor on the deposit slip should be exactly the same as on the nomination papers.  

Time tables will be drawn in each constituency/ward to avoid clash of candidates during submission. Candidates should respect the time set for them.