UTM Party president, Saulos Chilima has appeared to aim a thinly-veiled dig at Malawi Congress Party (MCP) for poor expectations management o for its supporters over the outcome on the presidential election nullification petition case.
Chilima (the first petitioner) and presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera of MCP (the second petitioner)—want the court to nullify presidential election results over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system.
President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who was declared winner of the elections, is the first respondent with Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as the second respondent.
Speaking at a news conference in Lilongwe on Thursday, Chilima said the petitioners went to Constitutional Court with “specific demand” – that is to nullify the May 21 2019 presidential elections results and order fresh elections.
He said parties to the elections case should be managing its supporters on the true expectations from the court judgement other than “fiction.”
Apparently, some MCP members have been peddling the narrative that the Constitutional Court would end up declaring its party president Chakwera the rightful winner of the presidential race.
But Chilima, the former State vice-president, used his news conference by telegraphing his concern over political leaders failure to manage expectations and creating a fictitious outcomes.
“It is important for the leadership, this includes myself, to manage people’s expectations. We went to court with specific demand, we should not be misleading people, let’s not all over a sudden create expectations based on fiction,” said Chilima.
He said party supporters should be told expectations “based on what will prayed for or what we pleaded for in court.”
Stressed Chilima in his call to avoid post-election case ruling anarchy: “ People should manage expectations of their supporters. Let’s not create unnecessary problems in this country.”
The five-judge panel comprising Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise, Redson Kapindu and Mike Tembo will deliver the elections case judgement on Monday February 3 2020 in Lilongwe.
Chilima said whatever the outcome of the court, people should accept and the winners celebrate in peace and those would have lost should accept.
“Fellow Malawians, when the decision of the court is made, I urge the losing party to accept the loss with humility knowing that justice has prevailed.
“I also urge the winning party to celebrate with grace and civility knowing that there also people who mean well on the opposing side. There are some patriots indeed on the opposing side and we will need them when we go towards on the rebuilding of new Malawi,” said Chilima.
MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali has sincesaid his party will remain calm during and after the verdict as long as justice prevails.
President Mutharika has also called generally for peace too.
Asked if UTM Party would appeal the court’s decision if its prayer for nullification is dismissed, Chilima said there is a right of appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Malawi and that they would make a decision based on the judgement is it happens not to go its way.
“We have a right of appeal, once we have read the determination and for whatever reason there is need to appeal we will appeal, we can also say we have waved our right to appeal and let go…Life must go on,” said Chilima.
Meanwhile, Chilima also called on the Malawi Police Service to be professional and stop thugs that may want to take advantage of the tense situation to wreck havock and inciting violence when the ConCourt results will be announced.
“Police must step up to the constitutional mandate to protect the people of Malawi,” he urged.
He also appealed to the citizenry, including UTM Party supporters to desist from causing chaos.
“Fellow Malawians, even as we expect protection from the police, we too must do our part to maintain peace, law and order,” he said.
“This country has come too far to look back. We have endured binding poverty together, we have survived scorching drought together …. Indeed in times of happiness we have danced and sang together. There is more that binds us than that which separates us.
“Violence and civil strife are alien to this land. We must not lose this gem. This is what defines us as the people,” said Chilima.
Ahead of the highly anticipated outcome, with emotions running high, foreign heads of mission in Malawi have urged all political leaders and citizens to respect the court decision. Ambassadors and high commissioners from the US, UK, Japan, Norway, Germany, Ireland, and the European Union appealed in a joint statement for calm and respect.
Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander Vincent Nundwe has also promised tight security ahead of the judgement. The MDF and the Malawi Police Service have implemented a number of security measures to ensure stability and calm in the wake of the announcement.
This is the first time Malawi has gone to the courts for logical conclusion following a disputed election result. It presents a serious test for both the country’s democracy and the independence of its judiciary.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :