Malawi law experts dismiss JB’s decree to nullify elections

Malawi law experts have dismissed as inconsequential President Joyce Banda statement on Saturday that she was annulling the country’s presidential election because of “irregularities” and ordered a fresh vote in 90 days.

University of Malawi’s Constitutional Law expert, Edge Kanyongolo, said the Malawian president has no power to order a fresh election and nullify the vote results.

Kanyongolo said the described President Banda’s statement as “one of puzzlement.”

Kanyongolo: No such powers
Kanyongolo: No such powers

Banda cited Section 88 (2) for “nullifying the elections.”

But Kanyongolo said the cited law does not give President Powers to cancel an election.

“In any case this is a Section that is giving general power to the president,” explained Kanyongolo.

The law expert said in the Constitution when Sections take of the same issues like general and specific, “It is the specific ones that prevails.”

He pointed out that the Constitution gives “specific power to election management to Malawi Electoral Commission.”

Malawi Law Society president Mandala Mambulasa also said the president does not have the powers as claimed.

He asked the President to “check all relevant laws and powers.”

When interviewed on Zodiak Broadcasting Station, President Banda insisted she was using the powers invested in her by the Malawi constitution.

Pressed to comment on what the legal experts had challenged her on that, President Banda referred the matter to Attorney General Anthony Kamanga.

Former Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara argued that there is no provision in the Constitution giving the president powers to cancel elections.

“The Attorney General has been put on spot here by the State President. So we need him to demonstrate his professionalism by telling the nation whether indeed the State President has powers to annul general elections,” said Kasambara.

Banda had earlier said Tuesday’s vote had been marred by rigging, multiple voting and computer-hacking.

She said a new vote should be held within 90 days but she would not stand again in any new poll.

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