A social and governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali has said as the Constitutional Court will be delivering the much-awaited judgement on the disputed presidential election results, it is expected that it will check if there are any noticeable gaps with country’s electoral management systems.
The election dispute has caused unprecedented tension, demonstrations and violence in the country.
In the Constitutional Court case, presidential candidates in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections Saulos Chilima of UTM Party and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are jointly asking the court to nullify the presidential poll results. They are the first and second petitioners, respectively.
The two dragged the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to court after the electoral body declared President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)the winner in the elections. They allege that the poll results were fraught with irregularities and that the electoral process was mismanaged by MEC. By virtue of the law. Mutharika was added to the case as the first respondent, while MEC is the second respondent.
In his his analysis posted on Nyasa Times, Munthali pointed out that the decision by the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal to continue with the hearing of the election case –after being petitioned by MEC not to proceed- was one of the land mark decisions in the year 2019.
“The decision-in my view- was important for both parties involved in the election case as it would either validate or invalidate the disputed May 2019 elections,” he asserted.
He pointed out that besides, the Court hearing and subsequent verdict would partly help in answering the long-time question: whether elections in Malawi are rigged or not, the Court determination would also help to check if there are any noticeable gaps withthe country’s electoral management systems.
“And that if so how can we as a country push for necessary electoral reforms to address such gaps,” he said.
He also said equally important in as far as judicial accountability is concerned in 2019 was the decision by the Court to allow the public follow the case on radio (using the interpretators in the Court.
“While the verdict of the Court shall not be based on public opinion but rather evidence and relevant laws and instruments, it is important to note that by opening up to the public to follow the case closely the Courts were indirectly communicating that were open to be held accountable by the public, and that the public should be able to appreciate the decisions they would be making on the case from the very onset,” pointed out Munthali.
He continued: “ In fact, such a decision by the Courts to allow the public to appreciate the case is also part and parcel of preparing the public on the outcome of the verdict.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :