Malawi Law Society back ‘fraudulent election’ recount

The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has joined the chorus of institutions of governance who are pushing for the controversial president elections to be physically verifies before announcing the results following widespread irregularities.

The Nyasa Times understands that the lawyers body -in its Extraordinary General Meeting on Sunday 25th May 2014 at their secretariat in Blantyre the MLS resolved to support the recount of the vote.

Surprisingly, the MLS Chairperson Mandala Mabulasa has not gone to the public to make this resolution public while few days ago he was on TV and radios arguing in support of the announcement of results and condemning the President on the Proclamation to annul the fraudulent elections.

Dzonzi:  Credibility of the elections damaged
Dzonzi: Credibility of the elections damaged

President Joyce Banda last week nullified the elections and ordered that voting be repeated within 90 days, but a legal challenge from MEC prevented the nullification of the results as she had no lawful basis to annul the election.

But several leading civil society groups are bow backing the elections recount.

The Malawi Council of Churches, an influential grouping of protestant churches, joined the chorus to push the elections body for a recount. The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, a leading rights NGO here, and the Association of Media Owners have also called for a recount.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP), United Democratic Front (UDF) and various other opposition parties except Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), led by Peter Mutharika, brother of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, who was in the lead with 42 percent of the 30 percent of vote is against the recount.

The High Court in Blantyre is expected to make a ruling on Friday, May 30, to either order the MEC to declare the winner based on the current votes or initiate a recount as demanded by Banda and some opposition parties.

Some analysts have been critical of the electoral commission’s conduct of the poll, which they said could undermine the credibility of the vote.

Human rights lawyer Justin Dzonzi said the electoral commission did not meet expectations of the organization’s promise to administer a vote that would meet international standards.

“A lot of people are disappointed by the way the elections have been conducted. The disappointment arises from the fact that this is the fifth time Malawi is holding democratic elections, and one would have thought we have established an institutional capacity to deliver elections without any glitches,” said Dzonzi on VOA.

“So what has happened this time around is actually a strange development given that we have a lot of experience in holding elections,” said Dzonzi. “Partly because of that the results themselves have also sparked a lot of suspicion in terms of their credibility, because some quarters begin to believe that the challenges we have experienced have been as a result of a deliberate action or series of actions aimed at rigging the elections.”

Dzonzi predicts a court challenge to the final outcome of the vote but he said the electoral body was right in its decision to recount the vote as part of its bid to ensure the credibility of the general election.

“Definitely, there would be some legal challenge as with the entire process, and I think that would stem from a number of angles; obviously the decision to go back to recount does not favor everybody. So obviously, those who think they have won the election would generally have the right to challenge the entire process,” said Dzonzi.

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