Malawi’s Supreme Court affirms nullification of presidential election

The Supreme Court in Malawi has affirmed the decision of the country’s Constitutional Court to nullify the country’s presidential elections — paving the way for fresh presidential elections which are due to be held later this year.

Embattled President Peter Mutharika, whose re-election in May 2019 was successfully overturned in court by the opposition and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), had appealed the historic decision of the Constitutional Court delivered in February.

Mutharika narrowly won the disputed elections and now faces an uphill battle to win the forthcoming elections after major opposition parties formed an electoral alliance.

Echoing the previous decision of the Constitutional Court, the panel of seven Supreme Court judges, the highest court in the country, unanimously agreed that the management of the cancelled elections failed to meet constitutional tests due to a litany of irregularities.

The court also affirmed a radical new interpretation of the laws governing elections to mean presidential candidates should only be declared winners after attaining over 50+1% of the votes.

At the court, Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima, who lost presidential candidates in the discredited polls and petitioned the court to nullify the elections, and subsequently agreed to partner during the forthcoming elections, erupted with joy inside the small courtroom.

Ignoring the threat of the coronavirus, the two drove through the capital Lilongwe in an open-air vehicle, celebrating the court victory as scores of supporters jubilantly cheered and celebrated.

“I am very happy personally and very happy for the people of this country who have been waiting for justice,” Chakwera told the Mail & Guardian.

Chakwera also reiterated calls for members of the MEC, including its chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, to resign immediately and make way for a new commission to administer the new elections.

The Constitutional Court delivered its February ruling amid tensions in Malawi after the disputed election sparked seven months of protests and the worst political crisis since the country’s return to democracy in 1994. Despite political turmoil and alleged attempts to bribe its judges, the Constitutional Court made history by becoming the second court in sub-Saharan Africa, after Kenya, to overturn presidential elections.

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Golden Matonga
Golden Matonga is an award-winning journalist, columnist and blogger based in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Provincial political jostling is in full force as the ANC...

There will be losers and winners as the provinces prepare for their elective conferences and slates are sealed. Find out who is trading.

It’s a Khaltsha thing: Khayelitsha’s growing middle class

In a few years the township will ‘disappear’, and Khayelitsha will become a city, believes one local entrepreneur

Locust fighters in a losing battle in the Nama Karoo

Expert calls for a radical rethink of how South Africa manages brown locust outbreaks.

Fraudster gets 15-year sentence for R18m theft from her employer

Amanda Samuelson ran a five-year fraud scheme, diverting payments to herself.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×