Malawi opposition supporters erupted into wild scenes of celebrations on Friday after the Supreme Court on Friday in a unanimous decision upheld an earlier constitutional court ruling that declared President Peter Mutharika was “not duly elected” in a disputed 2019 vote.
A new election will now be held on July 2, for which three candidates, including Mutharika, filed their nomination papers this week.
In its ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court said, some of the grounds of appeal by Mutharika were “extremely confrontational and unwarranted. “
It added that Mutharika also accuses the constitutional court of bias on some grounds and the justices of appeal cautions against unwarranted allegations against courts.
The Supreme Court also said the Malawi Electoral Commission should not have appealed, as doing so showed it was taking sides.
“The conduct of the electoral commission left a lot to be desired,” Justice Frank Kapanda said. “There was a lack of seriousness and incompetence.”
After the ruling, supporters of opposition parties in the capital Lilongwe busted into scenes of jubilation chanting anti-Mutharika songs in the streets.
Mutharika, 80, who has picked Atupele Muluzi son of former president Bakili Muluzi as his running mate for fresh elections, will remain president until the new election because he was in power before the now-invalidated 2019 result.
He will face stiff challenge from Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) who has picked State vice-president Saulos Chilima as his running mate.
Neither the ruling party nor the President have commented on the verdict.