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.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

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

Related stories

A pan-African stand must be taken against political oppression in Tanzania

As the country prepares for elections, the president is misusing state machinery to undermine, subjugate and repress citizens and civil society organisations

Trouble brewing for Kenya’s coffee growers

Kenyan farmers say theft of their crop is endemic – and they suspect collusion

Women are entitled to own land

Too many laws and customs in too many African countries still treat women as minors

The October election season: Guinea, Tanzania and Cote D’Ivoire head to the polls

October is election month as three presidents seek another term in office. For two, it will be their third

Guinea’s choice will determine its future for generations

We need the eyes and ears of the international community to be alert to assaults on democracy as we run up to the election on 18 October

The challenges of delivering a Covid-19 vaccine in Africa requires a new approach

It is imperative that we train healthcare workers and participate in continent-wide collaboration
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Ithala backs its embattled chairperson

Roshan Morar is being investigated in connection with KwaZulu-Natal education department backpack sanitiser tender worth R4-million and a batch of face masks that vanished

Inside the illicit trade in West Africa’s oldest artworks

Nok terracottas are proof that an ancient civilisation once existed in Nigeria. Now they are at the centre of a multimillion-dollar, globe-spanning underground industry — and once again, Nigeria is losing out

Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza: Liberating Africa from land of liberté

The cultural and political activist is on a quest to bring looted treasures back home

Entrepreneurs strike Covid gold

Some enterprising people found ways for their ventures to survive the strictest lockdown levels
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday