Vice President Saulos Chilima has lashed out at President Peter Mutharika for accusing Malawi’s judiciary of agitating for what he called “regime change” activities in their determination to nullify last year’s presidential vote and ordered fresh elections by July 3.
The Supreme Court of Appeal this month rejected Mutharika’s bid to overturn the landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court quashing his controversial re-election, paving the way for a re-run, scheduled for June 23.
Mutharika on Friday told the national broadcaster MBC TV that the decisions by the Constitutional Court and the subsequent upholding of the verdict by the Supreme Court of Appeal was a “travesty of justice.”
He said: “The court did not follow the evidence and the law. To me it was a judicial coup d’etat.”
The octogenarian Malawi leader, a Yale law alumni and former Washington University law professor, said the courts simply decided they wanted to get rid of the government despite the fact that they found that the elections were not rigged and that the irregularities did not affect the outcome.
“What has happened now is that they have set a standard that whenever there is an election and there is an irregularity, that election will be nullified.
“All over the world, people are laughing at Malawi… people are laughing at the judiciary in Malawi because what happened was totally ridiculous,” Mutharika said.
But Chilima, who together with Lazarus Chakwera had petitioned the court to nullify the election, said the President’s rants against the judiciary was wrong and unfortunate.
“No matter how you can insult the judges, they delivered their judgement, Full stop. What remains now is fresh elections,” said Chilima during a campaign political rally in Zomba on Saturday.
He said the President should not waste his breath attacking the judges on the matter that was already determined by a five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election over alleged irregularities.
A seven-judge panel of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s ruling.
In February 2014, Mutharika, then in opposition, introduced Chilima—then working as the first Malawian managing director of multinational Airtel Malawi—into frontline politics as his running mate in a pairing analysts described as a blend of public sector and private sector expertise.
However, the duo fell out and in June 2018 Chilima—widely known by his initials SKC—ditched DPP to lead newly-formed UTM Party, an outfit born after a section of DPP functionaries unsuccessfully campaigned for him to succeed Mutharika through what was called ‘Chilima Movement’.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :